Monday, June 28, 2021

The Zipper Police

I watched a documentary about Stonewall and the beginning of Pride (and the LGBTQIA movement generally) last night. Here's one little fact I learned that was probably the most startling to me.

When police raided the bars in New York City's Greenwich Village through the 1960s, one of the things they would arrest people for was if they weren't wearing at least three piece of "gender-appropriate" clothing. The elder lesbian who was telling about this in the show reeled off an example of how she would go over a check list of her evening wear back at the time. She stopped when she got to her pants: Oops, they had a zipper in the front! That meant they would be considered men's pants. 

Women's pants at the time only had zippers on the side or the back.

Of course by this time in the interview, she had already mentioned that the buttons on her blouse opened the "correct" way for a woman, which is the wrong way for a right-handed person. Since women, naturally, are supposed to need help getting dressed.

I remember pants like that, but the idea that the state can arrest you based on where your zipper or your buttons are... 

That's what some people want us to go back to, I'm afraid.

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