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Truman Says

Androgynous Irish Model Graduates in Heels


'My gender identity and gender expression isn't something to be shamed and hidden and confined only to 'appropriate' spaces.'

Photo: Paul Cooley Photography

Having been featured on the front cover of leading Irish gay magazine GCN, Ivan Fahy is one of Ireland's few androgynous models. When he graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway, on October 20, he was ready to bring the runway to the graduation stage. Although Irish universities typically institute a strict dress code -- men wear suits and women wear dresses -- the model defied the norms and decided to express his own style when he opted to wear pumps to the ceremony.

"I decided to wear high heels to my graduation because, if I lived in an ideal world, I would," Ivan said in an interview with "I didn't want to not wear them because I lived in a judging world, so I basically set myself the challenge to do it and I did. If I backed down and didn't wear my high heels I would know that I succumbed to the restraints of society."

Noting the strength he draws from his footwear of choice, he added: "I felt very confident in my high heels. I always do. I felt strong. It was truly amazing strutting up to the stand to collect my degree certificate [and] to then walk back to my seat proudly with my certificate."


While he mentioned that he faced a few looks of disgust from parents of other students, he explained that nobody insulted him directly and that he even had a staff member commend on his bravery. He also explained his parents' support, saying: "When I was posing in high heels with my father for photographs, various other fathers gave him dirty and disapproving looks. My father didn't care though, it was a moment of celebration for him too, because he was able to stand proudly by his androgynous gay son's side without caring about those around us."

Setting an example, Ivan wants to empower others, remarking: "I encourage every student to dress how they choose. Challenge the system, break tradition."

Follow Ivan's work on his Facebook page.

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