A Black Stripe in a Rainbow Flag: The Uphill Battle of Representation

This is the second article in the series 'A Black Stripe in a Rainbow Flag' by Travis Miller.


I’m classed as a fem gay, with my looks and style it’s obvious. I’m also non-binary I use they/them pronouns and I celebrate this.


There is no one way to be gay, as life and gender are constructs and a journey, if one day you want to wear dangly earrings, or paint your nails why the hell not? But it’s when I see masculine presenting gays that are good looking enough to be accepted, trying out femininity, then getting the recognition for it, that fem POC so rightfully deserve, like it’s a trend, that doesn’t sit right with me.


The gentrification of Queerness.


They still have their high following to fall back on and their pick me gays, for protection, but they’ve never had the struggle feminine queers face every day. They do it once and get put on a pedestal for their bravery because it’s something new to them, we do it every day and get dust. At least they can revert back when they’re bored of playing dress up.



This paragraph isn’t to deny anyone’s journey because I’m sure at some point every gay has experienced some form of homophobia, (Unless they’re extremely lucky), but when it comes to feminine gays, we have no choice but to be strong and love who we are, because if we don’t have that confidence, we become easy prey.


When I look back at that week, and my inner battle to understand why I didn’t feel beautiful in my non-binary feminine skin, I realise now, the answer is representation. There is next to zero Black, feminine, queer representation within media. Looking at social outlets like Instagram, it’s very easy to come across an abundance of influencers, normally white, toned, or Twink m.u.a.’s.

No wonder I was struggling to achieve beauty, because my idea of beauty was white.


This is called Eurocentric Beauty Standards. “The more closely associated a person is with European features, the more attractive he/she is considered. Standards deem attributes that are most closely related to whiteness, I.e lighter skin, straighter hair.”- The Beauty Ideal-Core. This affects the black community immensely, especially Black women, who have to wear wigs or a weave in order to become more “Professional” in society. We see this with the likes of the Kardashian Klan, and most beauty bloggers, using plastic surgery to define their features and become these sculpted angels. Using eyeliner to form cat like eyes, or contour to sharpen the nose, and lip filler to plump those lips. Wasn’t it only a few years ago black women were being made fun of for their lips?


Who decided this? Who decided that the darker your skin, the wider your nose, the curlier your hair made you undesirable?

Racism.

It’s almost like we are set up to fail.


Another place where this type of injustice occurs is social media. I know that Instagram works on a “see what you like” basis, so the more posts I like of a certain content, the more I’m going to see those posts. But when I go to my explore page, its flooded with the same type of people. Maybe that says more about me that I realise, but where are my QPOC? Where are my POC? Why do I have to specifically search out for another group of individuals before I can start seeing more content I can relate to?


“Be the change you want to see in the world”. Maybe this then is up to me, to start creating content that people like me as a QPOC would want to see. Although this can be a lot easier said than done when the world is already set up to be 10x harder for people like me to make it, because of the colour of my skin.


The main thing we can do to help the lack of representation is to do what we can to elevate QPOC voices. Those that are in a position of privilege can use it to help those who are not. The next and final article in this series will go live at the same time next week and will focus on accountability.


Thank you so much for reading, again!

Instagram: @travisxcameron



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