I think I used to dress more feminine unconsciously because I would get compliments from my former partner, parents, strangers, friends and it fed into this positive feedback loop that felt good. It took actively telling my friends and current partner that I wanted to dress more aligned with my gender for something to shift within me and perhaps their minds too.

I also relate to wearing a dress to family events to appease people and I'd be near tears before a holiday dinner thinking about how it didn't feel like a choice. Eventually, I started slowly asserting myself, telling my parents that I wanted to remember our gatherings with happy memories, that if I wore a dress I would be deeply unhappy––wouldn't they want me to feel confident and smile in our photos? This somewhat worked, because I noticed a huge difference from when I attended my brother's high school graduation in 2021 in a Madewell top + pants to going full Tar-core in an Acne studios blazer + men's Entireworld trousers for my own graduate school convocation in 2022.

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