Collette: I’m Collette King and I’m from Georgetown, Guyana, I’m a stud. I think people mix up the term gender expression and gender identity, gender expression is the way people feel in clothing, if they feel like to dress masculine or they feel like to dress feminine, it has nothing to do with gender identity, gender identity is um, the way somebody identify themselves through their sexual orientation you know?
Ulelli: Just continue.
Collette: ...to their sexual orientation so, it’s hard living in Guyana because I can’t dress masculine as a female and want to be employed in certain company so for me, my work is construction because at the end of the day, I can dress with a jersey, or dress with a jeans and get my work done, so that is...
Ulelli: I can ask you a question? So is that why you chose to do construction, because it doesn’t matter how you dress?
Collette: Yes, because it doesn’t matter how I dress because if I’m a female and I go to an office, they expect me to dress feminine, the way I dress is how I choose my job.
Collette: I find sometimes people ask me if I’m a boy or girl of which they know I’m a girl but they just want to discriminate. I feel hurt at times, I might lash out sometimes, I just ignore them, sometimes I smile. So I just want to feel comfortable dressing the way I am and could access getting job in different places, going different places without the discrimination but the end of the day, I am who I am and I’m comfortable dressing like a guy.
Ulelli: Ok. How long have you been dressing like this?
Collette: I’ve been dressing like this, 7, 3, 10 years now. 10 years now I’ve been dressing like this, um, I don’t know if my family got a problem with it but I know my aunt said she don’t mind that I dress like a guy but she don’t want to know that I’m a lesbian. My family cool with me, they go anywhere with me, they kicks sometime and say they going to buy me dress and stuff but nothing serious so, I don’t really have a problem with my relative and my family dressing this way.
Ulelli: What you want people to understand, people who don’t really know what gender expression is, what do you want to tell persons out there about people who dress outside of their gender? What you want them to learn about people who express themselves differently?
Collette: I want people out there to learn that um, the way people dress, the way people dress has nothing to do with their sexuality or sexual orientation because people should dress how they feel without being discriminated or without being pinpoint or without being insult or stuff like that and they should express themselves the way they want to express themselves and people who don’t really know about gender expression and gender identity, they could go and do their research, they could go and Google it and find the real definition and understand what it really, really, really mean.
Ulelli: So you said sometimes people ask you if you a boy or girl, how do you respond to that?
Collette: Sometimes I just ignore them and sometimes I get real upset and say you really want to know? And I say go ask your mother, go ask your father, go ask somebody and they will tell you who am I. Sometimes I get real upset and I just answer them dirty.
Ulelli: Anything else you want to add or say?
Collette: I really think is, I really think is sexy that people can express themselves this way, dressing differently.
Ulelli: You really think what?
Collette: It sexy, people can... “sexy” mightn’t be the word (chuckles). I really think, for me, it really attractive that you can see a female dress like a guy and still look, look... I don’t know what (laughs).
Ulelli: Look attractive?
Collette: Yes, I think it really good to see a female dress as a guy and look attractive and appealing and even people mightn’t like the way they dress but just because they look attractive they say wow, that person look great.
Ulelli: Ok, anything else?
Collette: Mm, me...
Ulelli: Thank you.
Collette: Cos some people don’t like it but when they see someone else, somebody tell me um, this is not for me.