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Allison Graham on Refusing to Be Invisible

This year, we’re celebrating Pride by acknowledging the LGBTQIA+ community’s long-standing history of breaking down barriers and lifting each other up. Throughout June, we’re featuring customers who embody the reality that resilience isn’t only about being persistent—it’s also about becoming stronger than before. From building community, to fueling creativity and encouraging activism, we’re honoring the LGBTQIA+ community as a continual source of strength, evolution, and inspiration.

Allison Graham created her fashion and lifestyle blog, She Does Him, to explore and share her own perspective on breaking down the barriers that exist in traditional menswear. Born in Jamaica, she was originally inspired by her father’s personal style and has since adapted some of those pieces from her childhood into her current wardrobe. Now a proud Brooklyn resident, Graham is active on social media, using her platform to dismantle stereotypes about the Black and LGBTQIA+ community, specifically as they pertain to gender and identity. She spoke to Squarespace about how she’s committed to making sure her story and others are visible.   

SQUARESPACE: Your blog, ‘SheDoesHim,’ examines the power of expressing your individuality through fashion. What inspired you to share your own perspective on style?

ALLISON GRAHAM: Not seeing someone that looks like myself being represented well in the media inspired me to put forth my own self expression by making myself more confident and visible. I then realized how many women including myself lacked the inspiration and confidence to say and share our stories in a world where our stories are forced to be invisible.

SQSP: Who or what has inspired your personal style?

AG: My dad has inspired my style tremendously. It was such an inspiration to see him well dressed each day: he’d always throw on a pair of slacks with a polo. This, in turn, intrigued my fashion query and admiration for men’s fashion. Growing up in Jamaica, Christianity was a huge influence and most women were frowned upon for wearing pants. Because of that, I assumed menswear wasn’t an option.

SQSP: How have you kept your fashion feeling fresh during the ‘stay-at-home’ orders initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic?

AG: I’ve been using this time to create pieces by painting and designing merchandise to share my thoughts. I frequently speak on the stereotypes that masculine-presenting women face everyday. One of my most popular pieces has been the “Masculinity is not a gender” tee shirts.

SQSP: On social media, you frequently dismantle harmful stereotypes about the LGBTQIA+ community. How has your audience reacted to these posts?

AG: It’s been very positive feedback. I’ve never realized how many women wish they had a voice until I decided to speak my truth more and share. The anxiety and fear masculine-presenting women face are based off of stereotypes and the way the world views us. Especially Black masculine-presenting women who, at first glance, are seen as Black men. We face transphobia and racism. We are a marginalized group within a marginalized group. We are forced to be invisible so there isn’t space for us pacifying anyone for who we are.

SQSP: Recently, you started selling merchandise based on some of your social media posts, including the popular “The Man of Her Dreams is a Woman” tee shirts. What has the response been to those products?

AG: I’m actually really surprised at how positive the response has been. I initially started creating these pieces for myself as statement pieces associated with my look. I’m happy and grateful others can relate and feel the want/need to share that sentiment with me.

SQSP: Squarespace is exploring the idea of ‘resilience as a revolution’ as it relates to pride. How does the idea of resilience factor into your definition of pride and your experience as part of the LGBTQIA+ community?

AG: I don’t think it factors in as much. Pride is a month of celebration of who I am and it’s a part of my identity. It isn’t my only existence and battles I’m fighting in life. So I’d love to think of it as a merit of joy and progression, of me and others continuing to live our truest selves. There’s resilience in being a Black woman or a trans Black woman that’s where the revolution relies majorly. Pride has become an event that revolves around white privileged LGBTQIA+ community where there are so many other narratives to celebrate.

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