Hair and Identity: From Expression to Acceptance
Everyone shares their story in a unique way. Some through art, some through style, and others through their hair. It seems fairly surface level—you can clip it up, down, colour it, cut it or blow it out—but to many members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, it has a much deeper meaning and impact.
Hair enables them to communicate their true identity, often for the first time. It gives them the power to honestly, authentically and boldly express themselves without any physical barriers standing in their way. In order to capture this freeing form of expression, we connected with three Canadian LGBTQ2S+ creatives and asked them to share their personal hair stories.
Maya Henry, 25
Actress & social media content creator
Ever since I can remember, I felt different. As a young kid, I was made to have short hair and wear “boys” clothes, but all I wanted was to grow my hair long and wear dresses. This wouldn’t become a reality until I moved away from my small town of Georgina to Toronto and began my transition. In the early days of my transition, I felt like my hair was my shield and an ultimate form of self-expression. For the first time, I could grow it long and style it without fear or judgement. Trying out different colours, styles, and products helped me feel more confident in my skin.
Now that I’ve settled into my transition, I feel more fearless than ever. My journey has taught me that the most important form of acceptance you can have is for yourself. I’m realizing that people are always transitioning through different phases of their lives. What helps me to maintain balance and stability through this journey is keeping an open mind and a curiosity for the world around me.
Dee Sabado, 26
Designer, art director and content creator
Since coming out as Trans a year ago, I have continued to fuel my passion in discovering new hairstyles that represent who I am on the inside. If my hair could speak, it would probably scold me for everything I put it through—from frosted tips to heated curls to box dye after box dye, it’s been through a lot but has always been a big part of my identity journey. It has given me the strength and courage to live loudly and boldly. It has even become a deeper instrument for introspection and self-discovery and given me a sense of comfort and safety to share my story publicly and honestly.
While navigating and adjusting to this new life may have looked effortless on the outside, being the first to transition publicly at my office last year forced me to realize the challenges and obstacles Trans people deal with everyday in corporate environments. I hope to continue pushing boundaries that limit opportunities given to Trans folks and am committed to sharing and opening doors for those to follow.
Today, I am the Marketing Co-Chair on the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council at Hudson’s Bay. My DEI passions have largely focused on ensuring BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ representation in all my works.
Miss Fiercalicious, 24
My name is Miss Fiercalicious and I am a Toronto-born and raised drag entertainer. My preferred pronouns out of drag are he/him and in drag are she/her.
My journey with my hair has been a long one. When I was younger, my peers would tease me because of my hair texture, which made me self-conscious and led me to straighten it every day before school. Society poses so many gender norms onto hair and makes us believe that long hair isn’t for boys. That mindset had an effect on me until I discovered drag and my untouched passion for it. I have since learned to embrace every aspect of myself, including my long, curly, beautiful hair.
When I first started doing drag, I looked up to Ariana Grande. Her signature look is her high ponytail so I started growing my hair out so that I could style my natural hair in a ponytail as well. As the years progressed, so did my drag, and I began experimenting with different wigs and hairstyles. There are so many components in making Miss Fiercalicious come to life including the makeup, the outfit, the jewelry, and the nails, but my alter ego is complete once I put on my hair. Wigs are amazing because I can style them in so many different ways and achieve multiple looks without having to bleach or dye my natural locks.
Drag has opened up a world of possibilities for me and I am so grateful for all of my accomplishments thus far but most importantly, I’m excited to see how far drag will take me and what the future looks like for Miss Fiercalicious.
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