Pride Month 2022: History of Empowering LGBT Global Fashion

Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.” – Barbara Gittings

LGBTQ - Pride Month of 2022

Indian LGBTQ Community Source: worldnomads

Once used as a derogatory term, the word ‘queer’ has proudly been acclaimed by the LGBTQ community. Queer was used to defining something that was subjected to being odd or peculiar. But the multicolor stride community represented this word with great fortitude, slamming societal viewpoints. Not one, but the initialism of LGBTQ was once looked upon as a controversy entailing provocation & conflict. But why? Does having divergent sexual liking make one less humane than the rest? Well, we’re glad that a few brave ones have laid a better path for posterity to think otherwise. So let’s make the pride month 2022 a memorable one by supporting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer (or) Questionable people with their fight toward equality.

Ashish Gupta LGBTQ CommunitySource: Vogue

Gender fluidity & androgynous fashion have been powerful tools of self-expression for the Pride tribe. The fashion industry has been a prominent witness to the LGBT community's growth over the decades. With legendary designers like Christian Dior, Gianni Versace & Alexander McQueen in the past, to the present-day Olivier Rousteing, Pierre Davis, Ashish Gupta & Param Sahib. They have all contributed to queer fashion in an impactful way, either by publicly professing to be a part of the pride community or through their LGBTQ-friendly collections.

No Sesso’s Pierre Davis LGBTSource: Vice

Pride Flag – Then & Now

The LGBTQ community flag of colour is a powerful representation of themselves. No pride parade is ever complete without it. In the year of 1978, a San Francisco designer, Gilbert Baker, had crafted the very first pride flag. He took inspiration from the ‘flag of race’ and crafted it to be of 8 distinct colors. (Pink, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo & Violet) Each color on the flag holds symbolism and diversity to the gay community.

1st LGBT Flag 1978Source: andrejkoymasky

However, in 1979 due to the printing company not being able to print hot pink, the designer decided to ditch the color. The LGBTQ community finally wanted to use this pride flag for their parade. They then decided to ditch the color violet. So that the flag would have an even number of distributed colors on each end, this flag grew recognition and has remained the same ever since.

Gilbert baker Pride flag 1979Source: Andrejkoymasky

 

Symbolism behind each color of the Pride flag:

  • Pink for sexuality
  • Red for life
  • Orange for healing
  • Yellow for sun
  • Green for nature
  • Blue for art
  • Indigo for harmony
  • Violet for spirit

History of LGBTQ intertwined with Fashion

Powerful LGBT Transgender Pride march Source: Buzzfeed

The fight for equality for the LGBTQ community has been witnessed for decades. One generation to the next, only passing down more courage and strength to the younger leads. The battle for their rights dates back to the 1700s, when homosexuality was considered illegal. It led to secret subcultures where people of pride would privately crossdress as a form of self-expression. They also had to maintain a secretive dress code to be able to recognise other gays or lesbians in public. Let’s dive a little deeper into the timeline!

Western hollywood lgbt historySource: citythinkblog

1920’s – Transgressive Loose Fits

The roaring ’20s was an opulent era in most parts of the world post-wartime. Women of this era were known to ditch the bustle and corsets and adapted loose fits alongside the flapper look. Few stars set up an androgynous tone by sporting elements like high waist trousers, ties & power shoulder suits like dresses. Helping the community not just ditch patriarchy & empower the women but also set up a standing ground for gender fluidity. Few elite members of the community set up secret balls for the homosexual tribe, which supported the LGBTQ cause.

1920's LGBT Fashion historySource: littlewhitelies

In 1924, Henry Gerbert founded the Society for Human Rights, which produced the first gay rights publication. It was the first such documentation in Chicago, making Illinois the first state in the United States that allowed to establish a gay rights organization.

1930’s – LGBT Fashion Designers Represent

Following the previous decade, the ’30s saw a rise with multiple fashion industry global designers publicly representing the community. They also found a way to include subtle flashes of exaggerated elements in their collections. One of the most iconic silhouettes of the era was the “New Look” by Christian Dior. This look was super prominent since it enhanced the idealized female form by its tailored fit & elements such as the peplum & the pleated skirt. But on the other hand, this look also saw signs of androgynous features that flashed with its form of bar suit resembling elements such as the lapel, supported shoulder pads & the hat.

New Look Androgynous 1930Source: Pinterest

1940’s – World War Utility Wear

The war caused the clothing to adapt to utility wear during this era. Women had to work during this time which required them to wear comfortable clothing. This gave rise to shoulder pads, wide-leg pants and more elaborated androgynous clothing. One such excellent example of this time was Rosie the Riveter. The clothing in the 1940s made a pathway for crossdressing for the secretive LGBT communities.

Rosie the riveter - 1930's LGBT SupportiveSource: wikipedia

However, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender rights during the 1940s were stagnated by discrimination & criminalizing in most parts of the world. Plenty of men serving in the military discovered to be gay were immediately sacked off their duties. In 1948, a study by Alfred Kinsey concluded that homosexual intimacy wasn’t just restricted to homosexuals, but 37% of men indulged in such secretive activity at least once in their lives. It led to a shocking reaction by conservative countries that looked at homosexuality to be an illness rather than a choice of living. However, progressive countries like Switzerland, Belgium & Sweden made the rights for the LGBTQ legal during the 1940s.

1950’s – Casa Susanna

The 1950s was when the world saw an increasing rate of flamboyant styling of trousers by women. It was now that the women wore pants by choice and not as utility wear. Before the 50s, trousers were looked upon as only men’s clothing, but now they were relatively accepted.

Casa susanna - secretive cross dressing LGBT ResortSource: wikipedia

A magazine “Tranvestia” states that there was a private resort for gender non-conformist to reflect their feminine side and crossdress. This resort was named Casa Susanna, which was a hideaway & a haven for men to crossdress. This year saw the first gay sustained rights group called the Mattachine Society & the first lesbian rights organisation named Daughters of Bilitis.

1960’s – Stonewall Riot (Pride Month)

A ton of androgenic ensembles were prominent during the 1960s. The LGBT community was far more rooted with the queer subculture on the rise in places such as London's Carnaby Street. Yves Saint Laurent introduced "Le Smoking", which was one of the first kinds of women's tuxedos. The subcultures of Mods & Hippies were considered to be free-minded individuals. So, these cultures also gained men's interest in fashion & crossover dressing.

1960's LGBT fashionSource: pinterest

In the year 1969, an incident at Greenwich Village took to the headlines when the New York police raided a gay bar named Stonewall Inn. It agitated the community members and led to a six-day long protest for their equality, leading to an impetus for the gay civil rights movement.

Stonewall Riot - LGBT Revolution
Source: esuc.org

1970’s – Street Queens

The 1970s was the year when the pride parade was held for the first-time making history. It was held on the 1st anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the current day pride month parade. This paved the way for gay men to choose to dress up on their terms during the gay liberation march. Legendary LGBTQ represents like Marsha P. Johnson, that led the parade and was referred to as street queens who opted for feminine ensembles. At the same time, the other gay men that walked the march sported hypermasculine styling.

LGBTQ represents like Marsha P. Johnson
Source: Vogue

Notable events, on the contrary, from a few LGBT members getting elected for departments. To a few being stripped down from their posts in the society. The queer people still fought their fight heads on with great courage. In the late 70s, it was the first time the flag was invented and hoisted publicly, empowering the queer kind hearts.

1980’s – Power Dressing

It was the year that saw pride as well as misery due to the HIV outbreak. It led to how men perceived fashion, from hypermasculine fits to much more submissive fits. Fashion in this era saw a lot of influence taken from the cultures. Power dressing was one such phenomenal moment where women could dress in an androgynous manner to establish their authority.

Queer Power dressing in the 1980sSource: npr.org

Gay designers like Gianni Versace also belonged to the community and helped make fashion statements tremendously. Few more celebrities came out of the closet during this era that laid out a foundation for the fearless pride tribe.

1980's Versace - LGBTQ Fashion CommunitySource: primatexpertise

1990’s – Crossover Dressing

The year of betterment was the era that finally saw public resemblance supporting the community. The queer looks finally made a breakthrough on the runway. Designer Jean Paul Gaultier was one such designer that took up the opportunity to extend crossover dressing. He introduced men’s skirts and idealised female ensembles for the male figures.

Jean Paul Gaultier - LGBT Supportive Fashion in 1990sSource: Vogue

Bill Clinton was the very first federal government official to recognise the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender celebrating the pride of June month. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian to the Times magazine. These instances made significant headlines and shaped the world of the 2000s.

Ellen DeGeneres coming out - LGBTQ Pride - Times MagazineSource: timesmagazine

2000’s – Millennial Outlook

The new generation of millenniums had a different outlook on the fashion industry. It brought a prosperous perspective for the LGBTQ community in significant parts of the globe. Supreme court of the US took down the ‘homosexual conduct’ law that decriminalized same-sex sexual conduct. This was a dominant factor for years to come when in 2006, the United States legalized marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

First LGBTQ Marriage in USA
Source: npr.org

Barack Obama was the first president of the US to support the LGBTQ community openly. But there remain a few parts of the world that have decriminalized homosexuality. But haven’t yet granted the rights for the same sex to be married, join the military or adopt a kid. With each passing year, the community empowers itself even through tremendous stress. 

2002 – Gender Fluidity

Rick Owen was one such queer designer that had been brutalized by his father, who saw a problem with homosexuality. He is one such iconic designer that promotes gender-fluid men's clothing, breaking the mainstream stereotype. Many influential personalities ended up embracing the gender-fluid clothing that helped remove the LGBT community from the negative public light. 

Rick Owens LGBTQ fashion runway Source: vogue

2013 – Two Brides in Gowns

In 2013, the Chanel Spring couture collection saw an iconic glimpse when Karl Lagerfeld decided to have a final look walked down by two female models. He deliberately sent out two models holding hands and wearing a bridal ensemble with a kid tagging along. It was to show support for France's move towards marriage equality for all. 

Chanel LGBTQ supportive runway 2013Source: vogue

2015 – Celebrity Embrace

It was a year that led to acceptance after multiple personalities came out of their closet in the past, with celebrities such as Rita Ora draping the LGBTQ flag around herself at the Gay Pride 2015. On the other hand, Miley Cyrus sported a hard-to-miss-onstage outfit that was multicolored.

Rita Ora Gay Pride - LGBT Flag 2015Source: Pinterest

2017 – Trans Empowerment

Anjali Lama was the first Nepali transgender person represented to walk down the runway for the Lakme Fashion week. India is a relatively conservative country that still hasn’t legalized most of the homosexual rights. This show established a pretty strong recognition of the LGBTQ community in India. Later in 2019, Anjali Lama was the first transgender model for CK by achieving the Calvin Klein campaign.

Transgender model for Indian Fashion Show - LGBT SupportSource: lexlimbu

2022 – Breaking Stereotype 

The current year of 2022 has seen a relative increase in gay couple marriages. One such gorgeous couple would be Deepa & Gauri. They are a lovely couple who settles in the west with their origin rooting back to India. India is one of the few countries that has legalized homosexuality but not same-sex marriage. Their bridal photographs hold witness to the amount of love and regard they hold for the queer community. It was a strong depiction of two Indian women getting married with their family’s best interest.

LGBT - Deepa & Gauri Wedding - Indian BridesSource: banudesigns

It establishes a firm ground for Indians to empower their battle to legalize LGBTQ marriage, military acceptance & adoption. Indian social media accounts such as Humans of Bombay and many more had chosen to feature them. Making history, awareness and grounding for the Indian pride community to prevail. 

Indian LGBT Community marriage in US - Two BridesSource: bebeloved

Conclusion

The queer tribe has won multiple battles over the decades to get where they are now. However, the batter isn’t over until we try to empower LGBTQ communities all over the globe. This pride month is to appreciate the past represents of the community. If you would like to show support to the tribe, you could support your near and dear ones to live their lives as per their choice, participate in a pride march, or merely not object to their rights. This month of June is to thrive for the pride.

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