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Blog: My Identity And The Pandemic

I thought my years of DIY haircuts were long gone, but desperate times called for desperate measures… 

My hair had always been my most reliable and trusted tool to help me outwardly express my gender since ‘coming out’. Clothes were a massive help too, but nothing reduced my chances of being called “Madame” as much as having short back and sides, and nothing had made a more significant statement in my transition than chopping off my ponytail.

The euphoria felt after getting a fresh fade was something that made the anxiety of actually getting my hair cut seem like a fair trade off.

Being able to enter a ‘male’ space such as a barbers was nerve-wracking due to the fear of being ‘discovered’ as a ‘fraud’, and therefore being asked to leave, but when welcomed by folk who knew that barbering was more about hair than about gender, the anxiety weakened and my visits positively contributed to my feelings of masculinity.

My trips to the barbers meant more than just getting a trim. They meant building a positive rapport with my reflection, which can often feel like an impossible task for trans folk.

Usually a monthly trip for most, my visits to the barber had become a weekly habit. But then lockdown happened.

Week one went by. Then week two. Then week three… I think I made it to five week before the dysphoria started to affect me on a daily basis and then in week six, out came the clippers. I thought my years of DIY haircuts were long gone, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

A way to reduce heightened dysphoria

Barbers are not just places to help you look more presentable, but places to help create yourself. I had lost that safe space and needed to reclaim it as best I could, although knowing I could never do quite as good a job.

My haircuts were amateur; done with only the camera on my phone as a mirror to hold up at the back, but they were acceptable… To my standards anyway. They became something that brought stress, and never the same level of confidence or euphoria that a professional cut could bring me, but nonetheless, they were something to look forward to when my only other option was heightened dysphoria.

When lockdown lifted I reacquainted myself with the black chair and in turn, my authentic self. I learnt that weekly haircuts were perhaps not as necessary as I once thought, but nevertheless, a luxury I welcomed back into my diary. 

We’re now deep into Lockdown 3. I wonder how long it will be before I see that black chair again…

Discover Fumble’s pandemic support series

The pandemic has had a huge impact on all of our lives, and we’ve all struggled to understand and digest the changes that continue to happen all around us. 

Our pandemic support series explores young people’s experiences of COVID-19, and helps you start to make sense of the chaotic and uncertain time we’re living in. Discover the full series here

Other support

If you need more support right now, here are some of our favourite places to start.

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Last reviewed Friday 26 February

Image Credit Dmitry Zvolskiy via Pexels