Trans Joy – Eyeliner

Today I’m delighted to share this Trans Joy post by Toni, talking about how eyeliner helped express their non-binariness. You can follow them @_kinker.bell_ on Instagram or @Toni_Andres on Twitter.

Coming out as non-binary in the middle of a pandemic made it difficult to explore the ways I wanted to perform and express my non-binariness. Bored, stuck at home, and constantly surrounded by my pre-coming out environment. I rediscovered my collection of eyeliners from high school. That’s when I realised, I couldn’t simply get rid of my pre-coming-out self. Instead, I tried to figure out how to embrace past versions of my performance and myself as a spectre stretched over time. In this vacuum of isolation, I decided to give my high school self a little makeover.

I used to combine my (mostly black, occasionally dark blue) eyeliner with mascara to strike a subtle elegance. Instead, I started experimenting with green, purple, red, orange, blue, gold, and silver. I doodled rainbow lines all around my eyes. Drew whirls and flowers, moons and stars spreading from my eyes all over my face. I began to see my face as a piece of art that I could create every day – and when I didn’t feel like it I’d wear none, and that was exciting too. It felt so liberating to explore how the bright colours accentuated my face in different ways just for its own sake – just out of joy.

I love the artificiality of the colours, the contrasts they make against my clothes and my blue hair. I create narratives with and on my own body. Every single day a new emotion, every single day a different performance. Re-defining my relationship with eyeliner ultimately helped me establish a better relationship with my own body – to embrace and love it – and to communicate with and through my body. It feels less like a reclamation of my own body than a truce with it, which developed into a healthy relationship.

Image description: Toni smiling with colourful eyeliner

Trans Joy is a blog series celebrating the positive side of trans experiences, to bring some balance to trans discourses.  If you want to contribute to this project then please get in touch. If you want to support the project you can order a zine here.

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