You Didn’t Have to Cut Me Off (Or Did I?)

Like many of us, my body is my temple. We decorate our altars in all sorts of fashions, hoping that someone will look at us and assume the best. Let’s be honest: talking to strangers and socializing can be a bit terrifying at first. We look at someone’s T-shirt, buttons, piercings or even their hairstyle to find mutual ground to start a conversation.

So what do we do? We buy those fandom t-shirts from Redbubble, wear buttons that say catchy phrases and dye our hair bright colors (GUILTY!). We want people to notice us. These little gestures can express the most about who we are. This year I did the unthinkable: I cut off all my hair. I had a luscious ‘fro I was rockin’ all summer and I decided to cut it all off. When I came back to school, people showered me in compliments and questions. There were a few reasons why I did this. The biggest is, I wanted people to have a better understanding of my identity. It was my little ‘coming out hairstyle.’

Believe it or not, there are lots of people who use their hair as a window for people to assume their orientation, gender or identity. You shouldn’t assume someone’s gender by how they dress or present themselves, but ironically enough many of us do this. Not to say that this is necessarily bad, in fact it’s actually a great way for people to ‘come out of the closet.’

For a lot of people, ‘coming out of the closet’ isn’t always easy, welcomed with parties and cake. Sometimes being yourself results in homelessness and abandonment by your peers and loved ones. So, these small subtle transitions can be huge for someone else. A change in the way someone dresses, or just cuts their hair, can be a way to finally represent and express themselves the way they’ve always wanted to be! A lot of people in the LGBTQ community also choose this way to express themselves.

“I remember I had always had long hair most of my life, and when I had come to terms with being trans* it was hard, because I felt that no matter what I did I would always be seen as a cis woman and as silly as it is, it took cutting off my hair to make me feel less dysphoric, and more empowered of my sexuality.” – Stark student who wishes to remain anonymous.

From a new wardrobe to a new haircut, the opportunity of transforming ourselves, experimenting and changing makes us all feel empowered in some way. It’s all about having fun, being comfortable and most of all being happy!  Who knew a little change could go a long way?

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