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What Beauty Means to Members of the LGBTQ+ Community

“Beauty to me, as a raw sense of expression, has sometimes presented a tricky territory. Growing up in suburban Kansas, my constructs of ‘beauty’ were more grounded in traditional stereotypes and one-note definitions. And, like any kid anywhere, there’s the grappling with the parts of you that don’t seem to fit those molds (on the inside or out). The idea of feeling ‘beautiful’ felt more outwardly serving.

As I’ve grown into my identity as a gay person, I’ve come to define my relationship with ‘beauty’ on my own terms. It’s less about avoiding lipstick because I just don’t feel like myself with it on — but more as a feeling, one that’s inwardly serving. It’s that feeling of freedom, or confidence, or swagger; at ease.

It’s self-defined, and, I’d like to think, ever-changing as I keep examining my terms and allowing myself the freedom to find forms of beauty and style as a tool to feel empowered in my fluid self-expression. My idea of beauty may show up a bit different than someone else’s and I find those differences beautiful, too.” — Kelsey Whitaker, director of innovation at Mindshare

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