Much controversy has swarmed two sectors of the LGBTQ+ community lately, undermining the life experience of those who identify as gender fluid, and those who identify as transgender. We've felt the national uproar following President Trump's proposition to ban transgender soldiers from serving in the military, and on the pop culture front, we've read (and written) all of the reactions to Vogue's co-opting of gender fluidity with its August cover stars, Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik. But, as any member of either minorities can tell you, the two are not mutually exclusive. And that's why we let them tell their own stories.
Meet Rayne Nadurata: student, model, and winner of the New York Fashion Week-themed prom at their high school. Nadurata attended the event in a look that was quintessentially gender fluid, strutting their truth down the makeshift red carpet in a suit-gown hybrid, fit for a prom king or queen. But the lead-up to the event — which included a few gender-shaming slurs hurled in Nadurata's direction — wasn't so easy. While reality shows and rom-coms paint the picture of shopping for prom night with a playful montage, the harsh reality of getting ready for it can be quite the opposite.
Thanks to the restricting — and sometimes offensive — dress codes, the event takes upon itself to decide what its attendees can wear, according to the gender they were assigned at birth: Cis boys are to arrive in suits, and cis girls should be in dresses (the latter usually containing several pages-worth of stipulations on everything from silhouettes, to lengths, to embroidery). It's meant to to be a night of letting loose and celebrating the end of high school, but students aren't really allowed to use fashion to express who they are and how they feel.
Nadurata, however, is a leading example that an unwavering amount of confidence and unwillingness to sacrifice one's identity is more powerful than any fashion rules. And there are ways to skirt the handbook and style a look for the fête that will tick all of the boxes, both internally and externally. If celebrities of all genders can wear suits on the red carpet, why can't we? In the conversation and styled photo shoot ahead, Nadurata explains how they won their own prom night, how they developed their self-confidence, and how you can, too.