I thought it would be easy to write about what masculinity meant to debut the more I thought about it the more malleable and elusive it seemed to become. For me masculinity is very much at the core of my being, it embodies both strength and vulnerability - it is a way of challenging the binary on a daily basis but equally not being labelled or put in a box so others feel more comfortable. I identify as androgyne for those who require a label, althoughI prefer not to label myself at all. All humans regardless of biological gender encompass both the masculine and the feminine, for me personally the masculine part has always been more dominant. From the age of 3 or 4 years old I knew I was not cis-gender even though I didn’t have the vocabulary to express it and back then in Malaysia I didn’t know there was anything outside of cis gender or heterosexuality for that matter. It was a long and at times arduous road to being able to dress how I wanted and to cut my hair.
My great-grandmother had film studio books from the 30’s and early 40’s and it was a great treat to sit with her and look at the beautiful photographs of the Hollywood stars as she read the biographies - I had no interest in the female stars, but I was obsessed with the likes of Gregory Peck, Tyrone Power, Clark Gable and Cary Grant. I wanted to be them, in the way they dressed, their gentlemanly personas but I’ve never wanted to transition. Growing up in in patriarchally dominated asian society I was well aware of male privilege so masculinity to me meant the ability to be a risk taker, to be dashing, to be a gentleman, and I knew from observing my father that being a true gentleman meant treating everyone equally, honestly and at all times with respect. It’s been a long road but now at 50+ I am comfortable with me and how I portray myself. I love and I am as excited by men’s fashion as much now as I was as a kid so being part of this project has been a huge privilege and honour.