A Guide to Prom for Trans* Guys
It’s prom season, and a lot of younger guys in the US are gearing up to go to their big formal. There are plenty of prom guides out there for women, and even a few for men, but what if you identify as non-binary or have unique concerns as a trans* guy? This is the guide for you.
1. What To Wear? A lot of transmasculine individuals opt to wear tuxedos or suits to prom. In fact, it is actually somewhat popular for butch women who do not identify as transgender to wear tuxes to prom, and so wearing one might not even out you as trans* if that is a concern. Although much formalwear is strictly gendered and pretty limited, there are some cool ways to mix things up. You can always take your inspiration from Kurt from Glee and wear a kilt. While kilts are definitely menswear, they are also kind of fun and androgynous. If you are forced to dress like a girl by your family or school or if you want something a bit androgynous, see if a “women’s” pants-suit would be considered an appropriate alternative or would work for you. There are many ways to make a pants-suit a stylish, androgynous alternative to a tux or a dress. If you end up having to wear a dress (and it is making you feel dysphoric), consider wearing men’s underwear or boxers under your dress, or doing other little things to make yourself feel better about the situation.
2. Getting a Tux. 9 times out of 10 it is a better idea to rent your tux or suit rather than buy one. Tuxes and suits are expensive, and it is unlikely that you are going to wear it much more than prom in the near future. Besides that, you are probably going to grow and change over the next few years, both emotionally and physically. Who is to say that the suit you bought for prom will fit you in 5 years, or fit your style and clothing needs. The need for a suit comes up much less in a young man’s life than most men’s fashion magazines would have you think. To rent a tux, go to your local formal shop or department store and ask if they do prom tux rentals. If you aren’t read as male you might get a funny look, but you’re a paying customer and if they don’t treat you with respect you can take your business elsewhere.
3. Bringing a Date. You don’t need a date to fit in or to have fun. If you do have a date, though, you might want to know the school’s policy on gay couples (even if you are not gay, but could be perceived as such because you are not read as male). At most public schools this is a non-issue, but there is always one case a year (or so) of a school canceling prom to avoid allowing gay couples or something like that. It’s good to have an idea of how things will go over for you and your date.
4. Binding. Prom can sometimes last for hours, and after prom is nearly endless, so it’s a long time to be stuck in a binder (if you plan on binding). Not only that, but prom involves dancing and after prom usually involves physical activities. If possible, spend the day of prom giving yourself a break from binding so you don’t end up binding for 12+ hours that day. If you have an older, stretched-out binder, that might be a good one to wear to prom. If you can, try on your tux/suit/outfit early and see if you could get away with just wearing a sports bra underneath. In-between prom and after prom when you change clothes, take off your binder and give yourself a chance to breathe a little before you put it back on.
5. Don’t Go If You Don’t Want To. Yeah, everyone says that prom is super amazing and you absolutely have to go. But guess what? You don’t if you don’t want to. If prom is not your scene, don’t feel pressured to go. In some major cities there are queer-friendly alternatives to prom that you can go to instead, or you can just spend the evening with friends doing something you’d enjoy more. Prom can be a great experience, but it isn’t for everyone.