I can often be seen wearing makeup from the simplest nude base to the flashiest lipstick. I wear chains with sparkling stones on my hair, charm necklaces, pearl rings, beads.
When I came out as trans I ditched makeup for good. I never thought I’d go back, after feeling like putting my face on every morning is more or less a responsibility and part of a role I play. That was destructive. It didn’t come from myself – it came from a place where all female friends spent an hour in front of the mirror before leaving the house and I tried to be that as hard as I could be, because it was a way to be a girl.
A couple of years later I had changed my name. I’d got my first testosterone shots. I realised that I’m getting spots and will have to start shaving my face. And I also realised that actually, cosmetics don’t have gender, nor is the use of them something that can be forced on someone – or at least it shouldn’t be. I started experimenting.
It was Halloween. We were invited to a party or two. I had just bought a brow pencil. A costume wasn’t necessary but I penned in my eyebrows, put some lipstick on, whitened my face with some theatre makeup, messed my hair, wore a neck scarf around my middle.
I felt good, and when I got told off at the loo, I was already happily pissing in the stall. You learn that kind of a thing: when there are staff looming about, it’s best to be quick and not look back. They won’t come inside. They might talk to your friends. I feel bad when they do, but the other option is to spend a good ten minutes arguing while desperately needing to go.
I checked my eyeliner and headed back, feeling more comfortable than I’d felt in a good while. And the next day, when I was dressed up as a bag of rubbish, I enjoyed my greens and browns with dark lipstick and a pair of ballet tights. Good stuff.
After those few days I brought my experiments to university. I brought them to work. I would get misgendered a lot. I would correct people a lot. I would be a bit proud of myself. I don’t see a problem with breaking the norm, or taking up your space, or challenging the common views on what it is to be a man, what it is to be trans, what it is to be well within the binary but not conforming to rigid gender roles in your fashion.
Now I enjoy cosmetics whenever I have time for them. They’re both a luxury and a normal everyday commodity. I’ve found the enjoyment in taking care of my skin, covering up what I see as flaws, and adding a little extra where I think it’d look neat and political. I like my lipstick dark or colourful, eyes subtle and framed with glasses. I like looking sharp, confusing, feminine, different, feather-like, radical, strong. Like I have my shit together.
So makeup, for me, is a statement. It’s my way of subtly yelling at people that not all trans guys cut their hair short and wear “boy clothes”. There are all kinds of men. There’s no right way to be one, trans or not.
Thanks, and have a good one. x