As a male going through Female transformation , a while ago when I was trying to work out what to do about transitioning I heard of Cate McGregor who had just gone public about being Transgender. At the time she was a senior Australian Army officer, and strategic advisor to the chief of the Australian Army. Cate is 9 years my senior. She is someone for whom I have immense respect and admiration, for a number of reasons.
Prior to her coming out, the army went through a few very serious sexist incidents, this maybe shouldn’t be too surprising for probably the most Misogamist organizations in the country, but The chief of army decided to tackle it head on, with a yet to come out Malcolm McGregor a key and visible contributor. When she later came out to the chief, she also tendered her resignation, which was rejected, making her the most senior trans woman in the army, and between that and the previous battling Misogamy painted a massive target on her amongst the boys club, that has been within the army, but also highly visible outside. I admire the courage and dignity she has shown dealing with something that would be 1000 times worse than anything I am likely to deal with.
Another thing I respect is her integrity. Like all of us (present company excepted), she is not perfect, being in the public eye she gets asked questions about controversial things, and occasionally digs herself a hole. That isn’t what I admire, though I do relate I am more than capable of doing that myself. What I admire is that she owns her mistakes, admits it, she explains why she thought that and what has changed. It’s so refreshing to see people in public life do that.
My next role model is Kylie Minogue, being close to my age, well four years younger, I like the way she presents. After building a career very much on her looks and youth, it must be tempting to try to cling to that as she matures, and she does maintain some of that ‘sparkle’, but mostly she sticks to clothes and makeup that are just age appropriate and come across as natural, though she obviously looks after herself, and still looks awesome.
Using Kylie as a role model is, obviously optimistic, but she is a good study in someone of a similar age and age appropriate dress sense, without giving up on showing your attributes, both physically and personality wise. I haven’t mentioned one quality that I like in Kylie, which is playfulness. There is no doubt I like the quirky, grotesque and playful. It’s no coincidence that my ear ring collection includes owls, two sets of spiders (small & large), millennium falcons and chemical structure of serotonin, oh, and skeletons.
One of my all time favorite song-writers is Joni Mitchell, I would really love a fraction of her ability to encapsulate and express her experiences and emotions. The other reason I admire Joni though is she is the alpha hippie. Not like the copycats that followed and really didn’t get it and thought it was just a fashion trend when really it was about questioning how the heard lived and finding an authentic way to live, the fashion was a reflection of that. Punk had the same problem – in the early days, it was about questioning and rebelling, the fashion came from making the most with minimum cost. Living authentically has a lot of appeal to me, it’s what transitioning is all about.
At the risk of wrecking that analysis, I do like some of the hippie aesthetic though, and especially flowing clothes like maxi-dresses/and skirts, and as a bonus it hides my figure in a playful way.
My final pick is our first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. The boys club in politics and the media hated her, but they missed that despite having one of the most hostile oppositions in my lifetime she was a more effective negotiator than any PM we’ve had in the last 20 years.
I think she’s a good illustration of how to dress for a male-dominated professional environment, leaning more to professional but still feminine. She and I also have very similar hair style and colour.