Academic, part-time DJ and gender studies professor Madison Moore says that we have a lot to unlearn.
"There is a process we all have to unlearn as a society," explains Moore.
"It's a collective process. We have to unlearn white-supremacy, unlearn misogyny, unlearn tran-misogyny and unlearn biases so we can get on with life and be who we are."
The Richmond, Virginia based Moore is bringing this process to Melbourne when he speaks at The School of Life program at the NGV's Clemenger Theatre on Monday, 18 February.
Madison, who grew up in Missouri – a midwestern State of the US that made headlines after the police shooting of African-American Michael Brown in 2014 – recalls being called a 'faggot' while walking home from the Quickstop convenience store which became an iconic image during the protests against police brutality.
A fabulous change
But he does believe change is happening through what he calls a state of fabulousness.
"States of fabulousness isn't about fabric, style or sequins – it's got nothing to do with a fashion look, it's more of an attitude," says Moore, who in his latest book Fabulous: The Rise of the Beautiful Eccentric, Moore breaks down the proverbial dress code that stifles individuality.
"Writing my book taught me many things – that norms aren't made with all people in mind – they don't apply to marginalised people including queer, trans or people of colour," says Moore.
"We all try to fit into them and then realise these norms aren't made for us and now it's time I be who I am last," he says.
New regime inspiration
Moore says that for him, it was the late musician Prince and his Aunt Mildred who inspired him to live life authentically.
There is a turning point in everyone's life that gets you to the point you need to stop pretending you are someone else," says Madison who was drawn to Prince's queer styling and fashion looks.
"His queerness appealed to young queers like me. Prince really helped me choose that path as a way of finding out how to be at one with the world."
Work in progress
When it comes to the workplace, Moore says surviving as a marginalised person in an office environment is about knowing how to embrace eccentricity without being overbearing.
"The moment a trans, queer or gender fluid person walks into an office space you are instantly marginalised. You are a political target the moment you enter the room," says Moore.
He says office politics will always exist, but admits the art of acceptance begins with you walking into a boardroom or workplace confidently.
"I am privileged to work in a university department that is supportive and understands different gender expressions," says Moore.
"But I will say to anyone else stuck in a place that makes them feel uncomfortable, that maybe you shouldn't be there. I don't want anyone to get fired, but suppressing who you are will only get you so far," he adds.
Madison encourages individuals to think outside the square at work.
"Maybe you can use a different kind of briefcase- opt for a purse and if you want to wear heels then do it."
Madison Moore will talk at the School of Life on Monday, February 18 in Melbourne.