"She’s Too Pretty To Be Queer"

by Aceani Michelle

I was watching an episode of Queen Sugar when a scene showing Nova Bordelon with her lover at the time graced the screen and the words, “She’s gay? She’s too pretty to be gay.” came out of someone’s mouth. This is when I learned that being gay and beautiful could apparently not coexist in the same person. “She’s too pretty to be _____.” No matter what you fill in the blank with, the content is still wounding to the self esteem of so many. But what does this mean? How can anyone put a stigma on what it is to be beautiful? These woman and so many others are both queer and beautiful 365 days a year. So, let’s not continue celebrating what it is to be different only within the boundaries of Pride Month. Here are four beautiful queer women redefining the typical standards of beauty!

Camila Canaveral

IG : @nourishmyuniverse_

 

1. When did you first discover your beauty?

“I discovered it when I was a freshman in college. I was the nerdy girl with poofy hair in middle school and mean kids would pick on me. It wasn’t until the middle of high school that I began changing how I viewed myself and loved myself by who I truly was. It’s where I began to not compare myself with others or try being like "others."

2. Has anyone ever told you that you are too pretty to be queer?

“24/7. Some people with little knowledge see beauty only if you're straight. People put this label on the queer community, and in my experience, queer women. "You're too feminine to be a lesbian" or "you could find a man, are you not satisfied enough?” It usually comes with disrespect. Some individuals are just ignorant and think being gay comes with a certain look. I love women and I am a feminine woman, that’s okay.”

3. Have you ever felt like you do not meet society's beauty standard because you are queer?

“I never felt I did not meet a standard of “beauty.” I truly have always just gone with life and never focused on looks. Beauty to me is just what’s inside. However, as a queer woman, I do continue to feel that I’m not “queer beautiful” enough, even if I shouldn’t think that way. Sometimes I do want to have a certain look or be more edgy so people can just acknowledge that I am gay, especially men. I only want the acknowledgement because of how society identifies me and how I constantly have to remind others that I am gay, especially in the most awkward situations (when they ask do you have a boyfriend). Why can’t people just ask “are you with someone?”’

 

4. Define what being beautiful means to you.

“Being beautiful to me means what’s your aura like? What’s your personality and how you represent yourself to others? How do you treat others? That’s beauty along with confidence, being smart, and being strong. Outer beauty fades. What’s one with a pretty face but ugly personality?”

Malaysia Heard

IG: @Ohh_Maly

1. When did you first discover your beauty?

“I think I’m still discovering it, I’m very on and off with it. Sometimes I feel pretty, other times, not so much. It’s a battle I have with myself and am still trying to love every aspect of me. I just get discouraged sometimes. I swear I’m on a roller coaster with my beauty. I even get mad sometimes that I look so much like my dad because I sometimes appear to have masculine features with no makeup on. I’m still a work in progress and I hope to love myself fully with and without makeup and also without added hair extensions.”

2. Has anyone ever told you that you are too pretty to be queer?

“99% of men I’ve encountered! I’m ready to falcon punch one of them in the throat. Then they follow that up with, “I can change your life, you just haven’t found the right one.” I correct them quickly. Then chew them out, about what makes them think they can say something like that to another person, and grill them. It usually ends with them saying something vulgar or continuing on with however they can “change my life.” *Cue an eye roll so far back they get stuck in the sockets.* I’ve yet to hear another person of the same sex tell me that though.”

3. Have you ever felt like you do not meet society's beauty standard because you are queer?

“No, not necessarily. If anything I’m usually trying to meet society's standards by what’s trending at the time. I’ve learned not to care and do my own thing, because some of the things that trend are so god awful, but they’re good for a laugh.”

4. Define what being beautiful means to you.

“Beauty to me means freedom, because beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. You have the freedom to do whatever you want with beauty. You can set your own boundaries. There’s no wrong way to do beauty; there is just a preferred standard and there will always be someone who doesn’t like how you do things, but who cares? Beauty is being able to create something that makes you happy, a look that you’re satisfied with. There is no real standard if you think about it. I love being able to express myself however I choose and so do others, and I think that’s beautiful.”

 

Isis Simone

IG: @isis.surreal

1. When did you first discover your beauty?

“I am lucky that my mom always instilled a strong sense of self-worth within me. However, I feel the most beautiful when I dress in a way that makes me feel uniquely me. Whether that be my version of dressing up or dressing down, dressing in a way that makes me feel good, conventional or not, makes me feel the most beautiful.”

2. Has anyone ever told you that you are too pretty to be queer?  

“When I share my queer status with a new person they are ALWAYS shocked and the people that I have shared that with often forget that I am a lesbian woman. I’ve been told countless times that I “don’t look like a lesbian." It’s almost as if I am expected to look, act, speak, and even post a certain way just because I am a lesbian. The queer/lesbian community can be difficult to navigate because there seems to be an unspoken rule of what qualities make a lesbian and what do not.”

3. Have you ever felt like you do not meet society's beauty standard because you are queer?

“I personally don’t feel that I necessarily fit in with society's beauty standards or “lesbian beauty standards.” Being a designer, I don’t believe in boundaries when it comes to expressing myself in my work or within my personal aesthetic. Growing up, I was often ridiculed for being who I am and expressing myself as a lesbian and as a creative individual. The fact that I do not meet society's expectations is a fact that I’ve come to love and embrace versus feel ashamed of.”

4. Define what being beautiful means to you.

“The most beautiful women have a magnetic quality about them. The most beautiful women have the confidence to inspire and uplift those around her, without being afraid of their shine dimming hers’. Having the confidence to walk into a room full of strangers and be a boss while empowering those around her is the epitome of a beautiful woman in my eyes.”

Lani

IG: @lani.p

1. When did you first discover your beauty?

“Growing up, I think I was conditioned (by society) to believe that the only way to be beautiful was through my physical appearance. I’ve learned that I am capable of being beautiful in so many different ways. I love and care deeply about the artwork I create, my friends and my family - that’s what makes me feel beautiful.”

2. Has anyone ever told you that you are too pretty to be queer?

“I have never been told that I was “too pretty to be queer.” I actually have never heard such a thing. However, I think a common misconception within the community is that there is only one way to look queer/non binary - that being skinny, white and having a short haircut. Often times, those people are pushed to the forefront.”

3. Have you ever felt like you do not meet society's beauty standard because you are queer?

“I’ve learned to become my own representation within the LGBTQ community and in my life.”

4. Define what being beautiful means to you.

“I think being beautiful means to be unapologetically and authentically myself - that way I am the best version of myself.”

 

Atira Barber-EllisComment