The Daily Remembrance card I chose today inquires as to which area of my body that I’ve come to accept and how I accomplished this self-embrace. My eyebrows and mustache were a source of embarrassment and shame for me as a teenager as they did not fit the acceptable presentation of someone assigned to my gender. Now that I know I am trans and non-binary, my facial hair has become more of a source of pride for me.
Once I went through puberty, my body hair became thicker and darker in places it wasn’t “supposed” to. I recall a teen guy telling me I looked like a boy, which did wonders for my self-esteem at the time (today I might take it as a compliment!). To combat my body’s vigorous hirsutism, I at first plucked and then waxed parts of my facial hair. Eventually I added a thick layer of makeup to conceal any strays.
Given that I am on T and am no longer wearing makeup, my facial hair is more visible than it has been in decades. I’m still finding the right balance of how I want to style it. I’ve started shaving my beard area once a week, even though my cheek hair is still very light. This keeps me feeling tidy and trimmed.
In many ways, being a trans person has been about celebrating my body more than detesting or altering it. I don’t even remotely think that this is every trans person’s experience, but I do believe that the failure of social norms to acknowledge the variety and beauty of every body as a valid representation of the person’s gender contributes to the social dysphoria trans people often experience. If I had grown up in a world where non-binary people were accepted, I think I would have come to understand who I was much earlier. My facial hair did not make me non-binary, but knowing that I am non-binary allows me to have a different relationship with many areas of my body, including my scraggly mustache and the woolly caterpillars of my eyebrows.