Pride 2020 Makeup Looks

June is Pride Month. I have been fortunate enough to have openly out, safely and proudly for almost a decade now. Normally, at this time in the year I would be gearing up to swap out my perpetually dark and alternative outfits for a more colorful ensemble to hit the streets for the New York City Annual Pride Parade. Pride month as well as Pride parades are chances to freely express all your gay self as loudly and flamboyantly as you’d like to. 

This year, Pride parades everywhere were cancelled for the global pandemic, as they should have been. When my workplace decided that last week would be a Pride spirit week, my coworkers and I rejoiced. Although it was entirely digital, it warmed my heart to see photos of my coworkers, gay, straight and everything in between, decked out in a different rainbow color each day. I did my own spin, because I genuinely only own 5 colored shirts max, so I decided to do a different makeup look everyday for the last 9 days of Pride month. Here they are!

Day 1: Red- Life

For day one, I went with a bold sparkly red eye look, paired with an equally bold red lip. Red represents life, which is why my “Vagina is not a dirty word” shirt comes perfectly in handy for this look. Finished off with a red bandana for a little Rosie the Riveter vibes and voilà!

Day 2: Orange- Healing

For day two, I decided on a very graphic and experimental orange winged eyeliner, outlined in black. Orange meaning healing, I wanted to represent the tough journey that healing can be with some sharp edges and guarded wings. This is my least favorite color but one of my favorite looks in this series. Paired with a muted shiny copper lipstick, an orange bandana and sheer polka dotted top, I think this risky combo was pulled off in the end.

Day 3: Yellow- Sunlight

For day three, I chose to focus on a more golden palette, doing a graphic doubled-back eyeliner on a sparkly gold shadowed lid. I wanted the eyeliner to emulate the cycle the sun makes through the sky every day to give its light to us. I paired this look with some sun shaped gold earrings and a mustard colored striped turtleneck.

Day 4: Green- Nature

For day 4, I went with a very basic black winged eyeliner on my lid, and reflected it in green in a half circle above my lid. I wanted this to represent the balance in nature. I wore an off the shoulder olive green crop top and kept the rest of my face and jewelry clear for a more natural look.

Day 5: Blue- Harmony

For day 5, I completely switched it up and did my regular eye look, and a striking blue lip. For harmony, I wanted to create balance between the blue of my eyes and the blue of my lips. Dressed in a denim shirt, large hoops earrings and my hair twisted back, I felt like the perfect harmony of masculine and feminine in this fit.

Day 6: Purple- Spirit

For day 6, I went BOLD, because purple is my favorite color. In the spirit of drag culture, I did a large sparkly purple wing outlined in white and black eyeliner, with drawn on bottom eyelashes. I put on my beautiful purple velvet cold shoulder turtleneck shirt and tied my hair up in a bun.

Day 7: Black + Brown- Black and POC Queer People

For day 7, I wanted to focus on showcasing these two colors as boldly as I could, with a brown and black smokey eye with a black and metallic brown lip to match. This day was to recognize and celebrate the two incredibly necessary black and brown stripes added to the Philly Pride flag in 2017. Pride was a riot started by queer people of color and their representation on the LGBTQ+ pride flag is so very important.

Day 8: The Pansexual and Nonbinary Flag

For day 8, I wanted to represent my own identities. I went with a simple blended eyeshadow look, my left eye including the colors of the pansexual flag, on my right the colors of the nonbinary flag, and a winged eyeliner with accompanying dots. With a lot of color on the eyes, I kept the lips a light neutral pink, and the outfit a simple black tank because black is my favorite color.

Day 9: The 2020 Pride Flag

For day 9, I wanted to go all out and recreate the 2020 Pride Flag on my lid. Complete with 6 rainbow stripes, and a chevron including the black and brown stripes for black and POC queer people, and the white, blue and pink of the trans flag. Complemented with a dark berry lip and sparkles galore, I think this look perfectly wraps up my Pride looks for the year.

Although we could not do what we might normally do to celebrate pride this year, it is in our hearts every day. It was fun, even just for myself and a small part of the internet to celebrate in my quiet, personal way. All my love to the LGBTQ+ community and allies; Happy Pride Month, this month and every month.🌈


June is Pride month, but no one is proud

As a Bisexual woman, I have always loved pride month. I see it as a month full of support and camaraderie. I see that the entire world seems to be at peace. But I don’t see the pride this June. 

June has started off with hate, riots, and unnecessary death. You see some coming together in the name of Floyd, but you see others stirring the pot; using this tragedy to get out pent up anger. There’s war going on in our front yards. People are afraid to go outside. There is so much division this June, I have to ask how America got to this point. Contemplating this question, I have come to the conclusion that a lot of our problems have one central theme.

People. Don’t. Listen.

In our society, people listen to what they see on television or online. We think this gets us fully informed, but there is one problem with that. Media is greatly controlled by the majority. You hear what they want you to hear. It is biased

Instead of reading headlines, we need to start listening to personal stories. We need to start listening to the minority. People in the majority need to hear the minority’s problem.

White people need to listen to the struggles of Black people.

Straight and/or Cis people need to listen to the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Christians need to listen to the stories of other religions.

Nuro typical/able-bodied people need to listen to the hardships of people with disabilities.

Most importantly, the majority needs to acknowledge the issues of the minority and put aside their own feelings. When someone is airing their grievances, it does not mean that you have personally done something wrong. They are looking for an ally. Silently listen, and when they are done, ask how you can help, not what they can do to help you.

Fear and anger are caused by the unknown. We, the majority, need to work to make the unknown known.

How my dating life changed after being in a same-sex relationship

I grew up as most young humans with vaginas do: being dressed up in pretty dresses for special occasions, being given dolls to play with, every item ever gifted to me being pink or purple (which was ultimately fine because I love purple). Along with the general aforementioned material items I was being taught to like, little by little I was being socialized to love men and present myself in a way that is most “desirable” to them. For years and years, I grew up hearing “Men don’t like it when you-”, or “No man wants a woman who-”.

Now, as a 22 year old human who is neither a woman, nor straight, I laugh at these convictions. I was raised to be a strong, independent human, which my parents instilled in me while also placing a certain importance on “becoming a woman”. I grew up hearing that it was “unladylike” to sit that way, not shave my legs, or wear or be interested in certain things. It was always a mystery to me as to why a family who believed in not letting anything hold you back in being yourself and accomplishing what you want definitely fell prey to some of the generalizations of what people who are different sexes “should be”. 

One answer I reached as an adult: it’s the way that people, especially women, in this society are socialized. I grew up in the early 2000s, and even in the 21st century I was being told by the world that my worth was dependent upon my possible desire to men. This specifically came through in the realm of appearance. I have always been in the mindset that “dumbing yourself down” so men would like you was just that – dumb. I never went along with that portion of the beliefs. My parents had taught me to be smart and to hold my own. However, I went through the vast majority of my life thinking this way: keeping my hair long, keeping my face made-up, dressing more femininely than I necessarily wanted to. Now, reflecting on this, why did I think that being who you were inside was more important than showing who you are on the outside?

When I was 15, I realized I was not straight. I came out as bisexual when I was 17, and I’ve eventually settled into the comfy hammock of the term “pansexual”. Gender genuinely has no bearing on my ability to find someone attractive or to fall in love with them. I had a boyfriend during my junior year of high school, someone who never made me feel uncomfortable with my body, appearance or sexuality. I knew I was attracted to all genders, but my mindset was still stuck with this tape on loop that I needed to be “presentable” and “desirable” to men, so they would want to date or hook up with me.

When I was in my sophomore year of college, I got into my first relationship with (someone who at the time presented as) a woman. I was in a queer, same-sex relationship for the first time in my life. I learned so many things about love, myself, relationships, mental health, etc. However, some of the biggest self-learning I did was post this almost 2 year long relationship. Newly single, 20, in New York City and at the time still not caring to question my gender, I was ready to get back into the dating scene after some recoup from an LTR.

Something about my mindset had definitely changed though. I had grown to love a side of myself that reared its head while in my relationship, in conjunction with my freedom at an art school to express myself however I pleased. I had outwardly embraced an aesthetic that felt the most like me, leaning into a limited color palette of black and darker jewel tones. I embraced my desire to change the hair everyone knew me for for the majority of my life and dyed it purple like I had been dyeing (pun intended) to do for years. A year later I shaved myself a side shave, because I always loved my long hair but wasn’t willing to commit at the time to a full shave just yet. I wore solely Doc Martens and boiled down my makeup routine to a simple cat eye and mascara, expressing myself with bolder eyeshadow or lipsticks when I had the time or the gaul. I inked my body with a couple tattoos and punctured it lovingly with a few more pieces of metal in my ears and nose. It was really the first time I looked at myself and saw MJ. I liked the way I looked before, and don’t hate that person by any means, but being this version of myself was and still is the most me I’ve ever felt.

I found myself feeling very comfortable embracing me instead of a gendered body. I didn’t feel the need to, and still don’t, put a label on my gender; I just feel like me. I loved dressing decently androgynously, changing like a clothing cameleon day to day. Some days I loved a black dress, patterned tights, and heels; others I preferred jeans, a flannel, and big hoops. It stopped mattering to me what was “feminine” and more what was “MJ”. I didn’t do, or wear, things because they were and or weren’t “what a girl should be”. I like to shave my body hair because I like the way it feels when I get in my clean sheets, not because it’s feminine. I wear winged eyeliner everyday because it makes me feel confident, not because I “should”. I learned (after shaving my head) that I love my long hair (with my side shave) because it makes me feel like me, not because “girls should have long hair”. I dressed however I wanted, because I felt like a badass, not because I wanted to please someone.

I reentered the dating scene with this newfound, subconscious (at the time) thought process of “So what if cis-men don’t find me attractive? I have like 7,000 other genders to pick from.” It’s been 2 years since then, and trust me, I’ve learned even more since then. I’ve had my fair millennial share of the dating scene, and I have something to report: Men don’t give a FUCK. I’m pansexual, with a stronger lean to women/gender-nonconforming folks, and I can say that half of my dates since have been cis-men. I have been the blonde, blue eyed, peppy gal. I have been the half-shaved-head brooding art school student. I have been the bald, overconfident “no long-termer.” I am currently the bobbed hair curvy GNC person I am today. I have not had as many male suitors as the stereotypical “pretty” as I have had at any other stage. You know what drew in most of the people I’ve been with? Not shaved legs, not long blonde hair, nothing of the sort.

Confidence. The second I learned to own and work what I had and who I was, things got much easier, for me, and for the dating life. On that same vein though, yeah, I had that self-discovery, but the point I’m trying to make- Men. Do. Not. Care. I have had hairy legs the whole time I was with a guy and he didn’t notice until I brought it up. I literally shaved my entire head while I was seeing a man and I walked into our next date and he said “Wow. Dramatic, looks great,” and proceeded to pursue me for the next year. 

What I learned namely from my same-sex relationship was that someone can and should love you for who you are if they truly love you. I was exactly the strong-headed, artsy, sardonic person I am, who also happened to shave their legs. My partner didn’t. I loved them just the same. I wore makeup everyday, they wore it for special occasions. I could talk about art, being queer, loving music, depression, baby goats and everything inbetween and they never judged. I felt entirely comfortable to be who I was. Did that have to do with it being a woman I was in a relationship with? I will say yes, but let me explain.

I think not having the preconceived internalized societal expectations of what a relationship should be really freed our relationship to grow and blossom in a way I don’t know that it would’ve if we were so caught up in what we were “supposed” to be doing. There was no expectation of who was supposed to ask who on a date, who was supposed to pay, who was supposed to cook and clean, or be the “pants wearer.” With a relationship that felt more like two chopsticks instead of a fork and spoon, we supported each other in completing what sides of the relationship we individually felt like executing, instead of trying to perform our separate different functions. It never felt like a requirement to fill out some role, it felt like doing whatever we naturally would’ve as people if gender norms were not at play, which they weren’t.

Being a very strong-willed and impatient person, I’ve been the pursuer of dates or relationships the vast  majority of the time. This used to be a huge internal struggle, specifically in high school, because I thought no one ever found me interesting or attractive enough to make the first move on me. What further frustrated me was that because no one was drooling over me like the movies said boys would, was that 1. I “couldn’t” make the first move with boys because it was “unladylike” 2. I believed I was undesirable as a person. Obviously if no boys are making the first move, I’m not special enough to love, right?

Wrong. Being able to drop the social norms of having to “let the man ask you out” and embracing my confident first-move making gene when pursing women or GNC cuties translated to my relationships with cis-men. After being in a long-term relationship with a woman, when I reentered the dating pool I entirely forgot that dating men was “supposed” to be approached differently. I realized this a couple months in, only to realize my bold tactics were not met with anger, but appreciation and attraction. On more than multiple occasions, regardless of gender or orientation, people have told me they admire my forwardness. When I’m out on a date with someone, the person who picks up the check is honestly whoever is closer to it or who is more insistent. Sometimes that’s me, other times it’s not, and most of the time we split it. 

Being able to exist in a world where I view all potential dating situations as more or less equal is incredibly freeing. I don’t feel the need to adhere to ideals set thousands of years ago by a society that no longer needs them. I know not everyone will or wants to experience being in a same-sex relationship. However, I implore you to take a walk around your mind and think about what you do in terms of your dating style and appearance based on your preference vs what you believe is expected of you. You may just find that upon taking another look at your preconceived thoughts that they are just that- preconceived.