#ELLEOpinion: What I Was Taught About Beauty And Loving Myself by The LGBTQIA+ Community


They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what if the beholder is wearing rose-coloured glasses smeared with outdated norms? Growing up, my understanding of beauty was as narrow as a catwalk model’s waistline, confined to the conventional ideals in glossy magazines and Hollywood movies. However, my journey with the LGBTQIA+ community has profoundly transformed my perception of beauty, confidence, and self-worth. And it all started with a trip to Bangkok when I was thirteen, where I witnessed a performance by transvestites that forever altered my worldview.

Picture this: a starry-eyed thirteen-year-old me, bedazzled by the vibrant lights, glittering costumes, and the electric atmosphere of a transvestite show in Bangkok. I was spellbound by the performers’ grace, captivating presence, and undeniable beauty. Later, I discovered these stunning individuals were gender fluid. My mind was blown—not by confusion but by the revelation that beauty transcends the binary. This early encounter planted a seed in my brain, challenging the rigid beauty standards I’d been spoon-fed.

As I grew older and slightly more sophisticated (or so I like to think), my circle of friends expanded to include many from the LGBTQIA+ community. Each brought unique perspectives on beauty and confidence. Take my friend Anaya (alias alert), who taught me that makeup is not just about looking pretty; it’s about feeling like you’ve conquered Mount Everest in stilettos. Watching Anaya transform her face into a masterpiece of creativity was a revelation. Her confidence was so infectious it could start a pandemic. She made me realise that true beauty comes from being unapologetically yourself. Through her, I learned to embrace my quirks and imperfections, understanding that they are what make me fabulously unique.


This newfound freedom in self-expression had a profound impact on my confidence. I began to understand that confidence isn’t about fitting in; it’s about smashing it all with a sledgehammer and dancing on the pieces. My LGBTQIA+ friends showed me that there is strength in authenticity and that confidence radiates from those who are true to themselves.

My experiences with the LGBTQIA+ community have not only reshaped my views on beauty and confidence but have also helped me on my journey to self-acceptance. I used to be my own harshest critic, always striving to meet an impossible standard. However, the diverse beauty I witnessed among my friends taught me that there is no single definition of beauty. Beauty is like a buffet, and I’ve learned to appreciate the whole spread, from the flamboyant to the minimalist.

Reflecting on that night in Bangkok, I realise that the performers’ beauty was not just skin deep; it was a reflection of their courage to be themselves in a world that often demands conformity. This realization has empowered me to be kinder to myself, to celebrate my uniqueness, and to recognize that my value is not determined by others’ perceptions.

In a world obsessed with perfection, my LGBTQIA+ people have been a beacon of authenticity, teaching me that true beauty and confidence come from within. Their courage to defy norms and live their truth has inspired me to do the same. Beauty is not about fitting into a box; it’s about breaking free from it and embracing the vibrant spectrum of human diversity.

Also, read:
Celebrating Artistry And Identity: Makeup Artists Leading The Pride Movement In India

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