By Kaitlyn Cullen
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – makeup is for EVERYONE.
This includes the trans community.
Regardless of gender identity or performance, makeup can help people feel more like themselves – whether it’s the acceptance OR rejection of it.
Gender expectations don’t just stop at “boy” or “girl.” Gender performance expectations hurt trans folk even if their preferred gender title is accepted.
Makeup should make people feel freer, not confined. Aesthetic expectations limit the possibilities of comfort and confidence for all people.
If a trans woman doesn’t want to wear makeup, it does NOT make her less of a woman.
If a trans man wants to wear makeup, it does NOT make him less of a man.
A non-binary person is NOT choosing a “side,” whether or not they choose to wear makeup.
The idea that only women can – and should – wear makeup is a huge factor contributing to gender dysphoria.
Rose, a transgender woman and personal friend, said she rarely wears makeup, but would like to wear it more often.
When asked about how she got into wearing makeup, Rose said it was “at first because it just seemed like something I was supposed to do as a woman, but more so – especially now – because I like how it looks.”
The expectation that women should know how to wear makeup is a pressure many trans women face.
“I want to like it, and I like how it makes me look,” Rose said, “but I don’t have the skill or experience to do a lot … and that feeling can lead to a lot of dysphoria.”
However, makeup can also empower trans people.
Theo Greyson, a transgender man and FSU alum, wears makeup “anywhere from once every two weeks to five times a week.”
“I tend to go for a more natural look that [leans toward] the side of masculinization – so, contour for my jawline and cheekbones, darker eyebrows, that sort of thing,” Greyson said.
Even though he tends to prefer a more natural look for himself, Greyson thoroughly enjoys applying makeup.
He was confident when he said, “I do makeup looks for my sister, my aunts, some of my guy friends, and the occasional party or YouTube video.”
Like many people, Kit Mauriello, who identifies as gender non-binary, said they started wearing makeup in the seventh grade.
“I thought black eyeliner was the coolest thing – I was so wrong,” said Mauriello.
Now, they said they prefer a more neutral, subtle, darker look.
Mauriello looks at makeup in a positive light, in regards to their own gender confirmation.
“I’m so grateful to have this relatively simple tool to change certain facial features in a gender-affirming way,” they said.
Makeup is not the enemy – expectations are.
Regardless of how you identify yourself, you should be able to alter your appearance to your liking – or be comfortable in your own skin.
When asked for advice to give to other trans people who are just starting to dabble in the world of cosmetics, Greyson was very passionate.
“Don’t be discouraged by ANYONE,” he said. “Not cisgender people who tell you makeup is for cis women, not transgender people who tell you the style you want to try is too feminine or masculine for your gender, not beauty bloggers who have years of practice and make you feel inadequate, and DEFINITELY not some stranger on the internet who shouldn’t get a say in how you choose to decorate your own face.”
There are plenty of resources for transgender people to learn about makeup that suits their facial features, as well as experimental looks. YouTube has a plethora of makeup tutorials, for a start.
Nobody should be afraid to express themselves!