5 LGBT+ People Share What Beauty Means To Them
9 minutes read
In light of LGBT+ History Month, Beauty Daily interviewed five inspiring and empowering LGBT+ people to share what beauty means to them and how make-up becomes a powerful tool for self-expression. In addition, we listed resources on what we, as a society, can do to observe the occasion.
What is LGBT+ History Month?
LGBT+ History Month is celebrated every February in the UK to educate young people about the history of the gay rights movement, promote an inclusive and diverse modern society, and highlight unique issues that the LGBT+ community faces.
The event was founded by Schools Out UK co-chairs Paul Patrick and Professor Emeritus Sue Sanders in 2004 and was first observed in February 2005.
LGBT+ History Month aims to raise awareness of and combat prejudice against LGBT people and history.
What does LGBT+ mean?
The term LGBT+ represents many different identities that might resonate with people: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans people and more. You’ll also encounter the acronym LGBTQIA, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual and other identities. Not every label is listed within the acronym, with terms like non-binary missing out.
While some individuals are taking an increasingly no-label approach to sexuality and gender, others find it necessary to articulate their identity or find community.
When is LGBT+ History Month?
Every February, the UK comes together to celebrate the history of its LGBT+ citizens and raise awareness about ongoing issues still faced by the LGBT+ community.
The event runs the entire month of February, from Feb 1st to Feb 28th.
How to get involved with LGBT+ History Month 2023
There are LGBT+ History Month activities happening across the UK in February and all year round. Check the events calendar here.
What is the 2023 theme of LGBT+ History Month?
Schools OUT UK chooses a different theme for LGBT+ History Month every year. In 2023, the LGBT+ History Month’s theme is #BehindTheLens, which aims to celebrate the valuable contribution of LGBT+ people in the creative industry.
This aims to celebrate LGBT+ directors, cinematographers, screenwriters, producers, animators, costume designers, special effects, make-up artists, lighting directors, musicians, choreographers, and a whole bunch of insanely creative people and beyond.
Why is LGBT+ History Month Important?
Equality Forum states, “The LGBT+ community is the only community worldwide that is not taught its history at home, in public schools or religious institutions.”
The main goal of LGBT+ History Month is to applaud positive LGBT+ role models, recognise the impact of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning individuals in history and make a civil rights statement about their extraordinary national and international contributions.
Ultimately, it aims to empower every LGBT+ people to reclaim the rights and freedoms they are denied, fight social stigma and discrimination and curb gender-based violence towards LGBT+ people.
What’s the difference between LGBT+ History Month and Pride?
LGBT+ History Month is more about educating young people about LGBT History. On the other hand, Pride Month is celebrated worldwide. It aims to recognise the impact that LGBT+ people have had on society worldwide and to celebrate diverse identities from across the community.
5 LGBTQ+ People Share What Beauty Means To Them
Beauty Daily interviewed five inspiring and empowering members of the LQBT+ community to celebrate LGBT+ History Month and asked what beauty means to them and how make-up becomes a powerful tool for self-expression.
La Voix, TV Personality, Actress & Performer
“I’ve always been obsessed with make-up. As a child, it was painting myself green as a witch for Halloween or thick black eyeliner and red lipstick going to see Rocky Horror Picture Show. My passion for make-up and skincare has always run parallel with my passion for performing. So much so it was hard to choose which career path to pursue.
Now with my theatre tours and showbiz life, make-up and performance go hand in hand. Make-up for me has always been non-binary; we all have dark circles, want to be a bit browner, and wish to cover a spot! It’sbrands who often haven’t caught up with the fact that men will buy it if it’s made to look accessible to them. When I trained in make-up with Laura Mercier, she taught me the power of good skin. Make-up can only look as good as the skin underneath. The power of a simple daily skincare routine changed everything for me.
One of my biggest make-up inspirations has always been the 1950s. The simplicity of black eyeliner and red lips is unforgettable. I hate that people say they can’t wear red. Anyone can wear red lips; it’s finding the right shade. I have my range of make-up products, which are designed for everyone and are the products I wear on stage after struggling to find long-lasting products that wouldn’t come off during my live shows. Oh, and the biggest seller? My matte red lipstick, £15!
My first dabbling’s with make-up was in the 1980s when my Mum used to have one of those massive department store sets. It opened full of eyeshadows, blushers, lipsticks, and shimmers. I would finger-paint my face thinking I would become Marilyn Monroe, but instead, I looked more like Marilyn Manson.
We all have skin, and we all benefit from the extra confidence make-up gives us. So, let’s forget whether it’s about men and women and power forward as one beautiful group… with no dark circles and a healthy glow!”
Christania DM, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of AZ Magazine, an online publication for LGBTQI+ People of Colour.
“As I’ve gotten older, my ideas around beauty have changed. In a previous life, I would’ve described beauty as how incredible a person looked, but these days I think of beauty as something external and internal. Being beautiful is more about how you feel about yourself, not how you present yourself in the outside world. I feel most beautiful when I feel confident and after I’ve moved my body by walking or exercising at the gym.
Make-up is a powerful tool because it has no rules; you can use it in whatever way to make you feel confident. The possibilities are endless; there are so many colours and techniques to choose from, which keeps it fun. My make-up routine has changed so much in adulthood; I didn’t care for some things that I loved in 2018 in 2023. It’s like life, constantly evolving.
I don’t wear make-up often at the moment, but when I do, I like to keep it simple; that’s what works for me. But I always wear strip lashes and lip gloss. Those two things are timeless and can completely change the look I’m going for.”
Steven Westgate, Group Head of Content, Green Park Content
“As a queer person, beauty means many things, and it can be hard always to know precisely how you want to present. At times, I want to highlight my masculine features; at others, I want to feel my innate femininity. Either way, beauty is about presenting your true self at that moment.
I don’t always want to present in the same way but that doesn’t mean I’m being fake or seeking attention because I’m a sum of all my parts – masculine, feminine, non-binary, and anything in between. As a queer person, you’re often expected to present in a certain way, and people think you must sit in this androgynous box, but there are many different ways to present and represent your identity.
I feel most beautiful when I feel completely comfortable in my skin, and playing with different types of make-up, products, and rituals helps me do that.
Make-up has no gender and is only seen to be for women because we, as a society, have placed higher beauty expectations on women. But, slowly, we’re moving towards make-up being used as a means to feel confident in our appearance and become part of a self-care/grooming routine.
I started wearing make-up at 16 because I was extremely insecure about my skin. I would plaster myself in concealer, hoping to hide it all away and trick people into thinking it was all natural – yet, as you can imagine, anyone’s shade-matching skills at that age isn’t particularly good. These days, I’ve thankfully learned how to apply my make-up better and usually go with a simple look for my day-to-day; brows, eyes, and highlighter to accentuate my natural features.
I haven’t played with a wider variety of styles, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I follow some stunning men on TikTok who do the most incredible make-up. Some are straight and some are part LGBTQI+, which shows how things are starting to shift with the perception of make-up.
At the end of the day, make-up should be whatever you want it to be. Use it to feel more secure in your appearance, use it as art, use it as a big F-you to anyone who thinks you shouldn’t be doing it, and show everyone who you are. It can be a simple pick-me-up for the day or an act of rebellion, and that’s amazing.”
Bronze West, Community Worker and Voguing Teacher (Voguing is a movement style and one part of Ballroom – a culture born of the resistance of the Black and Latino LGBTQ+ community in Harlem)
“For me, beauty is an appreciation of what makes someone or something uniquely what it is. I feel the most beautiful when I am present, grateful, and openly expressing myself.
Make-up is a temporary way of adorning or transforming the body. Like clothing, it’s a way of expressing how I feel. Generally, I only use kohl (powder) in my eyelids. I like that it’s quick and easy, natural and cleansing, and I can just leave it on. Like my tattoos, I use them to help my body better express my identity.”
David Mahoney, Founder of David Mahoney Communications
“For me, beauty is feeling an inner calm and peace in yourself. When I understand myself and feel content with myself, it shines through for all to see. Extending myself to self-compassion and self-love always helps with how beautiful I feel. I focus a lot on my internal relationship with myself because once I accept myself, I feel so beautiful.
I love make-up and find it empowering to wear it. I love the process of doing my make-up; it’s my 10-minute calm in the morning with a cup of coffee. I use minimal make-up to even out my complexion and cover any spots and dark circles under my eyes. I love a bit of bronzer to help shape my face, but as my Mum says, less is more. So I use light make-up to accentuate what is already there, but it makes me feel good wearing it and makes me feel excited and like I can boss the day.”
Read next: Men’s Make-up Tips