Happy Pride Month my loves!
This month, I wanted to highlight the significance of the beauty industry in the LGBTQIA community in addition to my role in creating inclusion for everyone that walks into Makeup Blvd. and Salon. As someone who is part of the LGBTQIA humans of the world, it is of great importance that the businesses I frequent and work with support and show love to those that identify as any expression in this community. This is a month of celebration but also a remembrance of the brothers and sisters we have lost over the years from the UpStairs Lounge arson attack in June 1973, or the Pulse Nightclub shootings in June of 2016. We have always been under attack, so all the more reason we must lead with love in our interactions.
As in any profession, there are many LGBTQIA people in the beauty world, some of whom have a large platform with which to become prolific advocates. Gigi Gorgeous, Tabatha Coffey, and Dominique Anderson are a few of my personal favorites. I feel fortunate to work and collaborate in a field that strives for equality and freedom of creative expression. At least within this smaller circle can be whoever we want, without the fear of persecution from others. Stylists and makeup artists have a unique advantage to cater to those in the community, creating a bond of trust and respect.
I want everyone who is reading this to know that if you are in my chair, you are loved, supported, understood, and welcome. I will always be a safe space for those that need it, and you do not have to worry about judgement from myself, or any of my peers at Makeup Blvd. and Salon. We are here to make you feel beautiful and protected. I know that at times, Grand Rapids can seem like a small and conservative city, but we actually have a large and successful group of LGBTQIA business owners, entrepreneurs, and allies that we can give our dollars to and give exposure to. Wealthy Street in Eastown, where our salon is located, is full of boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, and salons proudly flying LGBTQIA and Transgender Pride flags, letting patrons know that they will be welcomed into these spaces.
The world is certainly not always in our favor, and tends to be cruel, which is why we all need to show love and not focus on the things that become divisive. Rather, we need to understand that we are all just human, searching for the same fundamental desires in perhaps vastly different ways. If only we could have a united perception of what the human experience is truly meant to be. I choose to use my artistic mediums of styling and writing as an extension of my love for others, either on the page or on the canvas of another human. These processes create connection, and foster sharing the sacred space of written word or image alterations with the community I serve.
I know that there may be some reading this thinking that they can’t relate to this narrative, as it may be hard to imagine living constantly on edge and unsafe. As I write this I have to check my white male privilege that I have enjoyed throughout my life, regardless of my orientation, I have not suffered as much as others in my community. However, I am aware of the difficulty of living a life without total security or without some fear of oppression. Somehow it makes life more precious and worth living, and I wouldn’t change a thing about who I am. Nor should anyone attempting to live their lives as their true selves. I will forever be a guardian and warrior of my community, using my platform as a stylist and makeup artist to promote these world views and leave no one behind.
“Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth, and everything else will come.” -Ellen DeGeneres