Make-up for everyone (who wants to wear it)

November 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Feeling pretty down about the horrible bigotry of some in the trans community, I thought it was time for a very, very silly post. With ogling.


As anyone who knows me knows, I like eye make-up. A lot. Like – take ‘a lot’ and multiply it by ‘very’. That much.


I was born in the 80s, and my parents are SERIOUS fans of David Bowie and Lou Reed. The models of male beauty I grew up with had sexy, smoky eyes and a fuck-you attitude. I was desperate to be like them. And the minute I was old enough I ran out and bought the mascara, lash curlers, eyeliner pencils, little pots of shadow – the works – and locked myself in the bathroom to practice.


The problem is (shit – this becomes a little serious) – it can often feel that, in order to prove our authenticity as trans people, we have to buy into cissexist binary notions of gendered behaviour. The majority of that comes from cisgender society and wrong-headed and reductionist narratives of trans lives. But, sadly, some of it can be a form of self-policing from within – that trans men have to be butch and love women, and trans women have to be  high femme and love men, and that anyone else doesn’t really count. And whilst butch hetero trans men and femme hetero trans women are fantastic, so are the rest of us – those of us who might be straddling a whole bunch of definitions, and are most comfortable expressing a mixture of gender signs and signifiers.


I tried to be ‘traditionally butch’ for a whole year when I was seventeen – think of that, a year with no brightly coloured eye paint! I thought it was the only way to prove to people that I was genuine – and, because of my face, if I did venture to express myself through mascara, no amount of short hair/no breasts/skinny hips/male clothing was going to convince the majority that I was anything other than a lady. And it was blissful, not to be mistaken as a girl – but I was having to leave something of myself behind in order to do it – and wasn’t that the whole point of coming out, so as to be whole and sincere and honest? In some ways, yes, I guess I’m pretty butch – I love my muscles and body hair and shaved head and beaten-up DMs and horrible old leather jacket – but with a slick of black liquid liner on top, if you please.


So, the ogling part – may I present a small number of gorgeous role models, make-up and all…that’s what I call ‘inspiration’.


Lou Reed is the king of kings



Except, of course, when the king is David Bowie



Decadent genius from Alan Cumming



Michael Stipe was my hero when I came out (and is still my hero today)




My heart is forever tied to 'My So Called Life'



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