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Gender Diaries: Quintessa Swindell

As the world continues to push against gender constructs, the conversation around how people are identifying themselves is constantly evolving. Each week, Milk.xyz will feature a guest editor writing about their specific relationship with gender and where it intersects with fashion. This week, we feature Quintessa Swindell. 

I believe that gender, sexuality and identity all fall under such a great and undefinable spectrum of pathways. Commonly, as a global society we tend to put people into the heteronormative binary of female and male or queer and heterosexual. For me, this predisposed process of systematically putting people into an identity disables them to naturally flourish. I have always felt so strongly about how the internal sense of self within every person can starkly object the physical side of the body, as it may miss-represent how someone wants to be perceived as. Which is kindaaaa the case for me.

For the longest time I found it hard and almost excruciating to dress in a way that accentuated a lot of my feminine attributes and at one point I felt powerless against how people perceived me and how I sought to be identified as. I am not who I am based upon my anatomy and I find it a mission in life to deconstruct what It means to look the way I do and avidly identify outside the confines of my stereotype. My name is Quintessa, I am male. All lot of my studies in school deal with the process of redefining masculinity and re-evaluating how we collectively see manhood and womanhood. I’d like to think and explore the fact that gender is performative and encompasses learned traits rather than ones we are born with, under Queer theory this is mainly acquainted with Judith Butler. I seek to dress in a way that liberates myself and doesn’t put me into a box that proliferates something I am not. As I grew older, I fell in love with designers such as Vaquera, Eckhaus Latta, Palomo Spain, and Wales Bonner who all challenge how we see masculinity and femininity in society today. All of these brands push for gender ambiguity whether it be in talent, tailoring, or moral and I feel as though major industries are reshaping and revaluing what their brands mean to all types of people.

When I think about sexuality and gender, I see them more as exploratory experiences and practices more than anything. When you want to go beyond the confines of heteronormative nature, you become vulnerable and your identity has the ability to become “intelligible” to many others as they’ve probably never seen something as beautiful and vibrant as yourself before. It takes courage to be your authentic self, and it takes a sense of dedication to the way you think and the way in which you go about living your day to day life to live truthfully as you are.

Whether you are gay, straight, transgendered, bi-sexual, male, female, in-between, or neither, or anything else for that matter…every inch of you is valid and every inch of you is utterly beautiful, astonishing, and amazing in your own way. <3

Images courtesy of Devin Brewster

Stay tuned to Milk for more Gender Diaries and see our previous installments here.

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