Hi. My name is Eli and I currently reside in St. Louis, MO. I’m a 24 year old Genderqueer/Transmasculine/FTM/trans*boi and this is my journey.
Eli Chi is a St. Louis based performer. I sat down with him to talk about his evolving style and gender identity.
dapperQ: How has your fashion or style evolved as your gender perception and identity have evolved?
Eli: I think for the most part I’ve always dressed in a more masculine way. But that has most definitely changed over the years. I guess the thing that changed was that as the older I got, the better dressed I looked! (I didn’t mean that to be cocky!)
dapperQ: What kinds of clothing did you wear/use to communicate your masculinity?
Eli: As far as clothing, I definitely wear a lot of neck ware, ties, bow ties. With that, a variety of button up shirts, vests, sweaters, cardigans. My bottoms, whether they be shorts, pants, whatever, are usually fitted. I’m not a fan of baggy clothing.
Most of my clothes are purchased from the men’s section, however, I’m not opposed to wearing anything from the women’s section. (Especially if its bottoms that fit well since I am female bodied. Bottoms have become easier to find in the men’s section since being on T, but can still be a pain in the ass)
Eli: I think my performance as a drag king has definitely changed compared to three and a half years ago. I used always be a very butch and masculine king. I think for the most part I still am. But, after coming to terms with my gender, because I am more comfortable with my masculinity, I have become comfortable with my femininity and am OK with it. I embrace it. So in turn, since I’m comfortable, sometimes I will come out with a more feminine persona. Less aggressive, more playful.
dapperQ: I know that recently you began advising for Growing American Youth – a St. Louis organization dedicated to queer youth since the 1970s. What interested you in working with youth?
Eli: I started advising and volunteering with Growing American Youth back in June. I’ve always had an interest with interacting and helping LGBT youth. I felt like I had always connected with teens. And in GAY I get to do just that! I like talking to teens about their lives and experience. I love that I am able to perhaps open up a youth’s mind, just by sharing with them my experience. It’s been only a couple of months, but the experience has been very rewarding somehow.