By: Aaron Warga

Photos by: Serena Pu

Before Coming Out Day, I found myself in a bit of a predicament.  Now that my former spot in the closet had been replaced by my “I am.” shirt, I’d been thinking of all the ways I could wear it (because I’d totally seem straight otherwise): under a blazer, with the sleeves rolled into cuffs…  I digress: I found it a bit hard to think of creative things to do with it.  I mean, I wanted to wear it as much as I could: it’s basically like saying “hey I’m super gay” and wearing it as a t-shirt.  But it’s still a t-shirt, and there’s only so much you can do with a t-shirt, right?  I ended up wearing it over a short sleeve button down with contrast cuffs that I rolled over its sleeves.  I thought I was all cute and stuff.  Then on Coming Out Day I got shown up.  The three masterminds that put me to shame took advantage of something that I had failed to realize. The “I am.” shirt doesn’t have to be a t-shirt.  Why didn’t I think of that?  You see, there are these lovely things called scissors, Aaron: you can use them on things other than your eyebrows.  Anyway, my attempt to be innovative with my “I am.” shirt pales in comparison to these three.  I really need to step up my gayme.  Get it?  Like game but gay… I thought it was funny.  

Anyway, you’re probably wondering who these three apparel geniuses are.  I had a photo shoot with them (and myself #vanity) so they’re all official supermodels now.  Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to pass by one of them on campus.  I’ve taken it upon myself to become their agent.  All booking requests should be sent to me directly, and we’ll negotiate cost from there (Flex dollars are the preferred form of payment, but we also accept baked goods and gum).  I’m seriously considering featuring them in a calendar—just try and tell me that you could resist buying one.

Can we all take a moment to acknowledge how painstakingly gorgeous Ida is?  She’s compolytely (that was a polysexual pun fyi) breathtaking.  I think I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t have even a tiny crush on her.  Also, she has a nose ring, enough said.  She’s a pre-med bio major who will blow your mind with her knowledge of regeneration and queer theory.  She’s a fellow GUPride board member and she facilitates “Queer Women’s Collective,” a discussion group through our LGBTQ Resource Center.  That wasn’t a plug (yes it was).  She turned her “I am.” shirt into a backless halter dress… I’m speechless, and if you know me you’ll know that’s a rare occurrence.  But no, the dress wasn’t enough, she had to go and pair it with a black leather jacket.  You torture me Ida.  I’ll stop fangirling (for now) and let her introduce herself:

I Am Shirts_SerenaPu4

Can you give us an NSO-style Introduction? Name, school, year, where you’re from, and a fun fact?

Ida Dhanuka, College ’17, California, can rap along to all of Nelly Furtado’s ‘Promiscuous Girl.

How would you describe your personal style?

“Thrift store chic, oversized everything but pants.”

What does ‘I am.’ mean to you?

“To me, “I am.” is a way of claiming my identity for myself, instead of letting others place descriptors on me. “I am.” is a way of claiming my queerness and my femininity simultaneously, which is really important to me because my gender expression tends to make it less likely that people will identify me as a queer woman.”

Why did you choose to alter your ‘I am.’ shirt, and what aspect of yourself does the way you altered it represent?

“I altered the “I am.” shirt because it was too large for me to wear as a shirt—I was drowning in it. So my roommate, Caroline (holla she’s a Thirty Seventh co-prez), actually helped me cut into a dress, since it was just long enough to wear as one. I think the halter dress really does a better job of representing my femme identity, and the importance that femininity has in my personal expression and understanding of self.”

If you were any one color of the rainbow, which would you be and why?

“Yellow—I took a test and it told me my aura color was yellow, because I’m energetic, generally cheerful, and a little aggressive.”

    I kind of have a thing for crop tops.  Okay, that’s an understatement.  I adore them.  It’s tragic really, because I also kind of (most certainly) have a thing for eating all day long.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve envisioned myself runway walking around campus in my peach “Aloha Beaches” crop top, turning heads with my gloriously toned midsection.  I have the outfit all planned out and everything.  I mean, I have the crop top, just not the abs… so I think it’s safe to say I’m halfway there right?  Actually, I went running today, so more like three quarters of the way?  No?  Unfortunately, somebody already beat me there, abs and all.

    Isn’t he abs-olutely stunning?  I abs-pire (I hope you punderstand by now that I’m just getting started) to look equally as hawt in half a shirt, but I queerly have quite a bit working out to do. He makes it look so casual with a flannel.  Even I hadn’t thought of that combination.  Well crop–he’s making me look bad.  You’re already well acquainted with his belly button, but let’s get to know the rest of him shall we?

I Am Shirts_SerenaPu9

Can you give us an NSO-style Introduction? Name, school, year, where you’re from, and a fun fact?

“Hello wonderful gay, ethnic, straight, and white people of Georgetown (Mostly the latter two adjectives)! My name is Matt Palmquist if you want the real me, Matt Simpson if you want the Facebook me, or captaincankles if you want the ig me. I am a Sophomore in the college majoring in Sociology and I hail from (H)Ellensburg, Washington. Old men used to address me as “ma’am,” “sweetie,” or “honey” when I operated the Burger King drive-through, and would then act really embarrassed when they arrived at the window.”

How would you describe your personal style?

“Seductively cheap yet desperate for attention–a little like Donald Trump, but instead of Donald Trump wearing a suit in his Limo, Donald Trump wearing a g-string while riding the metro.”

What does ‘I am.’ mean to you?

“Despite being from the gloriously liberal Pacific Northwest where the minimum wage is as high as the legal consumers of recreational marijuana, people in my conservative, rodeo-centric hometown are, for the most part, homophobic morons. Aside from the regular slurs that were written on my notebooks and yelled at me every time I flipped my fabulous green hair, I got to hear constantly how homosexuals are going straight to hell (or to straight hell!), making the wrong lifestyle choices (clearly not me with my kickass Trump style), how gay marriage should be illegal because it’s immoral (unlike everything else that’s ever been legal), and that we need to love the sinner (physically, I would assume) but hate the sin. One of the hardest parts was watching the few intelligent, logical people that didn’t prescribe to those points of view bite their tongues and turn the other way–and not in the good way.  Things are usually hard when watching people bite each other’s tongues and reposition their bodies.  Even though Georgetown errs more on the conservative side, it’s still a liberal bastion next to what I’m used to. I mean, Georgetown is place where a club full of queers and their minions hands out free shirts designed to proclaim oneself as a gay or an ally, and people actually take these shirts at an alarming rate. Georgetown definitely has a lot of progress to make (gender neutral bathrooms?), but I think LGBTQAA students that come from far more accepting home environments than I sometimes take Georgetown’s tolerance for granted. I am flamingly gay and if I am going to hell I am definitely going to see you there (and we are going to have a super fun time). Georgetown, and Washington DC in general, is the first place I’ve ever lived where I can be who I am.”

Why did you choose to alter your ‘I am.’ shirt, and what aspect of yourself does the way you altered it represent?

“Like I said before, Georgetown University is still fairly conservative, but unlike my hometown, the homophobic are in the minority. So if I’m finally in a place where I can be who I am, I might as well be as much of who I am as possible which, in addition to super super gay, is also someone who loves attention, finds awkward situations hilarious, and dislikes having a sweaty stomach. Also, the bottom half of my shirt always seems to be what I drop my food on, so regardless of the political message, a crop top is the utilitarian solution.  I’m finally at a place where I can run around in a half-shirt proclaiming my gayness and conservative, religious fundamentalist, tea-party Republicans have no choice but to weep in solitude. Mwahahaha!”

If you were any one color of the rainbow, which would you be and why?

“Blue, because it’s the warmest color.”  

    *If you get this reference you get a gold star.  Wait, no, a blue star! 

    Aside from being able to pull off orange remarkably well, this last (but certainly not least) shirt-shapeshifter is a natural when it comes to posing.  She’s giving me a run for my money with her hip pop.  You may see her in VCW where she’s an RA; I student guard there and I’ve swiped her GOCard a few times, so I think it’s safe to say that we’re pretty tight.  She transformed a shapeless (though still fabulous) orange sack into a flattering, belted, or perhaps tied, shift dress, and then seamlessly incorporates it into an adorable daytime outfit as well.  Orange you impressed by her skills?     

I Am Shirts_SerenaPu5

Can you give us an NSO-style Introduction? Name, school, year, where you’re from, and a fun fact?

“My name is Elizabeth Cortes. I’m a sophomore in the College and I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I’m from Los Angeles, California and thus my life is inherently interesting. One time, The Game came to my job, but I didn’t know who he was so I asked for a name for his order and I called him “Gabe.” (If you too are not familiar with The Game, Google is a friend)”

How would you describe your personal style?

“I’d describe my day to day style as, “I woke up 10 minutes before class, punctuality is important, and I’m going back to sleep after class anyway.” (Me [Aaron] thinks somebody is being much too modest.)

What does ‘I am.’ mean to you?

“My senior year in high school, my peers and I crowned a gay homecoming king and a gay homecoming prince. I never felt like I had to be an ally to anyone because I saw people celebrated every day for living life as their authentic selves. My freshman year at Georgetown, I met many confident and proud members of the LGBTQ community not unlike the people I knew back home. In knowing these people, I found it hard to imagine a time when they were not confident and outspoken; however, as I got to know people, it became apparent that many people only felt comfortable coming out of the closet after coming to Georgetown and that some are still in the closet when they return home for breaks. To me, “I am.” means I am an ally and a Hoya for others. I have found it necessary to say I am an ally in an effort to help others find a space in which they feel free to be authentic.”

Why did you choose to alter your ‘I am.’ shirt, and what aspect of yourself does the way you altered it represent?

“I got a 2XL size “I am.” shirt because I wanted to wear the shirt to class then to be able to wear it as a pajama shirt. I ended up wearing the shirt as a dress because my best friend (also featured in the article) wanted to go to the GUPride party wearing “I am.” shirts. This represents the fact that I like to look on point when I’m not in a rush. I dress for myself not for the people in my 9am class.”

If you were any one color of the rainbow, which would you be and why?

“If I were a color in the rainbow, I’d be blue. Blue can be happy and blue can be sad; but most importantly, blue is everyone’s favorite ;)”   

I want give a huge thank you to Serena, our photographer for this shoot.  Not only did she take amazing photos, she also put up with my horrible puns for nearly 2 hours.  She was even nice enough to pretend they were funny and laugh at them.  She’s a real trooper (and a fantastic photographer)!   

I’m a bit worried now: these three are so stylish I feel like I’m going to get replaced by one of them.  Please let me stay—I haven’t written my crop top article yet!

Posted by:Thirty Seventh

Georgetown's premier fashion and lifestyle blog.

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