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Queer Excellence at the Met Gala 2021

Written by Kyra McWilliams

Image via People

Lil Nas X revealing his suit of armor

Founded in 1948, the annual tradition of the Met Gala has since grown into its title, the party of the year. Whether you religiously watch the outfits and performances unfold or couldn’t care less about celebrity culture, it was impossible to miss this year’s controversial event. The Met Gala is, at its essence, one big fashion show, where celebrities and designers show off their best work. This year’s theme, ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’, led to this inclusion of politics in a once fashion focused event.

The first look, or should I say looks, come from rapper and musician Lil Nas X. Because his rise to stardom occurred alongside the pandemic, this was his first time attending the Met Gala, and he did not disappoint. His outfit consisted of three pieces, all designed by Donatello Versace. First, his grandiose golden overcoat, complete with a train and large shoulder pads. Then, he revealed a golden suit of armor beneath. The next and final layer was a bodysuit, covered in golden shimmers. Not only were the outfits iconic, but they had a deeper meaning to the wearer. He described them as his journey to coming out of his shell. He slowly revealed himself more and more to the public after his hit single “Old Town Road”, a mix between country and rap. Lil Nas X has paved the way for a new generation of musicians. He’s a role model for so many young people, and his rise in the music industry as a gay, black man is inspiring to many.

Next, Elliot Page, Academy Award winner actor, made his debut since coming out as transgender at the Met Gala. This is already so meaningful; it’s an opportunity for him to truly express himself in the way he wants. That appears to be wearing a suit, a classic symbol of masculinity. Though at first glance he appears to just be wearing a designer suit, the green flower pinned to him has another meaning. This flower symbolizes Oscar Wilde, a queer author and poet, most notably of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde, like many queer people of the past, had an affair with another man, Lord Alfred Douglas around 1895, eventually landing him in prison. Years before this, however, Wilde instructed his friends to wear a green flower on their suits to indicate they were men who loved men to the premier of one of his plays. Elliot Page’s subtle nod to him reminds LGBT people of their pasts, and how queer people, like Oscar Wilde, worked so hard to gain equality not only in America but around the world. Page’s outfit was a nod to his confidence in himself and his masculinity, as well as a queer icon.

Image via ABC news

Elliot Page and his green rose

Next, and my personal favorite, is Nikkie de Jager, more commonly known as Nikkietutorials, a prominent beauty guru on YouTube with around 13 million subscribers. Now, getting into the Met Gala isn’t cheap ─going for around $35K per ticket. However, if you get invited or sponsored by a corporation or seigner, you’re in. This is the case with lots of celebrities, including de Jager, who was invited by Derek Blasberg and YouTube. Nikkie wonderfully followed the theme and put her own spin on it with her tribute dress to Marsha P. Johnson, a late LGBT activist. She was seen wearing a gorgeous flower crown, reminiscent of Johnson’s iconic crowns. Her dress featured a sash that read “Pay it no mind”, Johnson’s response regarding her gender as well as the P in Marsha P. Johnson. Marsha was a prominent figure in the Stonewall riots of 1969, which can be read more about here. Stonewall and Marsha and two major figures in LGBT history and liberty in America. Nikkie’s outfit is an amazing nod Marsha P. Johnson and still relates to the theme of ‘America’.

Image via People

Nikki de Jager in her Marsha P. Johnson tribute

Dan Levy, cofounder and star of the hit show “Schitt’s Creek” appeared in a gorgeous tribute to queer men. His suit is inspired by the work of artist David Wojnarovicz. The image by Wojnarovicz was inspired by a homophobic cartoon he’s found on the street and recreated in maps. Levy and the designer Jonathan Anderson aimed to “celebrate queer love and visibility”. Their message is clear in this stunning suit, featuring two men kissing on the front. Wojnarovicz’s art on Levy’s suit show the struggle for queer Americans to be recognized and respected. Levy and Anderson’s message was loud and clear with his gorgeous suit.

Image via Newsweek

Dan Levy is his David Wojnarovicz inspired suit

All of these celebrities and many others showed up looking amazing to the long awaited Met Gala 2021. Though many struggled to follow the theme ‘America: A Lexicon of Fashion’, these celebrities’ messages were loud and clear about queer liberation in America. From Elliot Page and Nikkie de Jager’s tributes to famous LGBT icons, to Dan Levy’s unapologetic nod to gay men, it’s clear to see that LGBT celebrities wanted their messages heard this year.

Written by writer Kyra McWilliams

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