Since LGBT issues have taken their rightful place on the national stage in the United States, the openness to the expression of such identities has never been more clear. A recent study shows that heterosexual men are now more likely to form close bonds with the same sex, and this has a direct correlation with a decrease in homophobia. However, acceptance is not as widespread as the image painted by the media suggests, and fashion still plays an important role in gay visibility that it did in years past.

It’s important to remember that androgynous fashion has helped gay men to express their respective identities and take a stand against oppressive gender roles. Though many gay men opt for a more traditionally masculine appearance, those who embrace their feminine side shouldn’t be marginalized just because their fashion choices make people uncomfortable.

Choosing which piercing to get as my first was a very difficult decision. A close friend recommended my bellybutton. It would be super unique, she said, and people would love it! I was initially a bit unsure, but I came to realize how well it would go with the flamboyant crop top-and-leggings outfit I wear so often. Sure enough, I went through with it and didn’t regret anything.

A few months on, I’ve received nothing but compliments. Save for a small amount of judgmental, homophobic glares in public, all of my friends celebrate me in all my flamboyance. Body augmentation is a valid and healthy form of self-expression.

I still have yet to meet any other guys with this piercing, let alone who wear crop tops. But I’d love to see more and more embracing this unique (and ultra sexy) piercing!

If the body is a temple, why not decorate the walls with what makes you happy?