In order to discuss the LGBTQIA+ movement in the context of the beauty industry, we first must touch base on the history of beauty trends. Beauty standards have been around for as long as humanity has, whether it was exemplified by the ancient Egyptians' heavy kohl eye makeup or scarlet-lipped, blonde bombshells like Marilyn Monroe. (Read our last article to learn more about beauty trends through the decades!)
These standards defined what was cool, meaning anyone who did not follow them was unfortunately not COOL. Based on rigid gender stereotypes, these trends have been used to control individuals' femininity and ensure that people fit into the norms of appearances. This is where LGBTQIA+ comes into play because, news alert: stereotypes are wrong, and there are more than two genders.
With the emergence of queer influencers such as Nikita Dragun and James Charles, LGBTQIA+'s popularity in the beauty industry has shifted the formerly toxic standards towards ones of inclusivity and freedom of self-expression. Donny Nguyen of The Purple Tide states, "I used to get made fun of for wearing a full face [of makeup]. However, the LGBTQIA+ community has lifted gender norms by sharing their stories on social media and encouraging kids to express themselves." Men can wear makeup or dresses (like the infamous Vogue cover with Harry Styles), or not. It's up to them.
If you're looking for more LGBTQIA+ influencers to follow (with considerably less drama), here are five we at Blingy recommend:
Maya / Sebastian Noir (she/he/xe)
A self-proclaimed bigender model, Noir speaks to xir audience about “xir” truth on what it's like to be a genderfluid human. With almost 35 thousand followers on Instagram (where “xe” goes by Cosmic Phenomenon), the main goal behind Noir's content is to spread kindness and let people know that they are not alone.
Aaron Philip (she/her)
Philip has made waves as the first black, transgender model with a disability ever to get represented by a major modeling agency. Philip has worked with big brands such as Marc Jacobs, ASOS, Sephora, and Nike and is the first model to use a wheelchair to walk for a major luxury fashion brand. Philip uses her platform to advocate and raise money for causes such as gender equality and disability discrimination.
Jessie Paege (she/them)
With over a million followers on Instagram and Youtube, Paege is a bisexual influencer who uses her platforms to advocate for mental health, women's rights, and LGBTQIA+ identity (such as her video 30 Things Not to Say to your NON-BINARY Friends). She is also a musician, with her song Skeleton representing her struggles with an eating disorder.
Bretman Rock (he/him)
With his unapologetically colorful and sassy personality, Rock is one of the biggest beauty influencers on the internet. With over 17 million followers on Instagram and almost 9 million subscribers on Youtube, he is known for his makeup and food-making videos. Rock uses his platforms to spread awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement about racial and gender equality.
NikkieTutorials / Nikkie de Jager (she/her)
In her incredibly emotional and moving video, De Jager recently revealed that I'm Coming Out – that she was transgender. She is regarded as a significant advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, urging others to live openly and authentically as themselves. De Jager was appointed a goodwill UN ambassador in June 2020, a deserving title for the queen of transgender influencers.
These unusually peculiar role models have shown us that society shouldn't control how we look, feel, or express ourselves. Like Jay Versace says, "You can be both masculine and feminine, be whatever you want. I'm both, look at me. And I'm doing just fine." The LGBTQIA+ movement shows us that there is no ideal version of beauty, so the best person you can be is yourself.