Queer Haircuts: Hairstyle Appreciation Day

Queer Haircuts: Hairstyle Appreciation Day

A presumed straight cis girl until the age 18, I spent most of my life without the right haircut, but a few queer haircuts after my coming out(s) grew my confidence and identities into the pride I have today.

Starting point: Wavy, frizzy, annoying

All throughout childhood and into my teen years, hairstyle never mattered. My friends started straightening or curling theirs before school, and I just gave it a quick brush, sparking a frizz fest most mornings. As a ginger with natural highlights and lowlights, compliments to the color felt like enough for me. I need not worry about maintenance. Plus, hair could not convince me to wake up earlier than 6am for styling and making it to school on time.

My hair grew long and wavy, I kept it in cowgirls braids at least three days a week and frequently cut and donated once it grew long enough. I regretted a shoulder-length cut every time I did it, but kept trying up until my early twenties. Thick with mixed textures, most hairdressers struggled to cut it; all opted for thinning shears, which added to the frizz, requiring more maintenance, which I wouldn’t budge on.

The writer stands with long, wavy, frizzy, red hair. It is messy and held back with sunglasses on the top of their head.
My messy hair before any queer haircuts.

I knew I was “bad” at hair. All my friends were “good” at hair, and mine was ugly. I had the color and that was it. So, I gave up. And long story short, that false cishet identity let my hair fall to a wasteland.

Queer Haircuts: The Undercut

The undercut decision started when lesbian pop singer and queer icon, Hayley Kiyoko, fell under my radar with her release of the music video, Girls Like Girls. After her debut album, Expectations, dropped, paired with the tour announcement, I bought tickets to see a show and fell in love with her a little bit. And Hayley’s undercut was cool as hell.

Shaving a few inches of hair off the bottom of my head? Not only would I look as cool as Hayley Kiyoko, but it’d thin my hair without thinning shears shredding out my layers. I contemplated for months, am I really cool enough to get an undercut? Finally, I convinced myself to do it. My mom buzzed off the back of my head, cool winter hair touched skin for the first time, and I felt cool as hell.

The post writer squats in dirt to plant a cabbage. Their hair is in a bun and the bottom and back portion of their head and neck is shaved.
Side profile of my undercut.

The undercut felt more me than any haircut or hairstyle I’d had up to that point. It made lazy buns on the top of my head look cool. And best of all, I felt visible and queer with feeling too visible or too queer in a way that felt unsafe in a small rural midwestern area. The first of my queer haircuts provided a safeguarded stepping stone to confidence.

The Big Chop

During the summer pandemic lockdown of 2020, I underwent a lot of personal turmoil regarding my gender. By the end of the summer, the label “nonbinary” stuck and felt right, but my body didn’t quite fit my ideal gender expressions, and hair fell outside the realm of gender euphoria. I had to get a haircut, I figured.

My mom took off enough inches to donate, where the ends of my hair no longer met my shoulders, marking this move the shortest haircut of my life. And I loved it.

The writer looks at the camera. their hair is wavy and short, stopping at their chin.
The bob haircut!

I felt so much more myself with shorter hair. My curls became manageable with gel casting and diffuse drying, and the short cut brought forth spouts of gender euphoria. For the first time in my entire life, I loved my hair.

Once winter tossed flurries in the air, I tucked the short bob into winter beanies, my gender expression fell more towards androgyny, and my nonbinary identity awakened a little bit more knowing my gender might come across a little more ambiguous than it ever had with my long hair.

Current Queer Haircuts: Curly mop

My latest hair decision had my mom standing with scissors in her hands for hours, trying something she’d never done: going from bob to short hair, pulling hair forward, chopping long bangs, and morphing it all into something of a short, overgrown style. Managed with my curly queer method of hairstyling, this new look sparks even more gender euphoria, now experienced through all weather seasons.

The writer has short, curly hair. Curls fall over their forehead.

Simply put, I feel incredible. All of my “queer haircuts” put forth a truer version of myself, expressing fresh identity discoveries with sexuality and gender. I’ve loved aligning the interior and exterior versions of myself through hair.