A day or two after I came out as queer, I cut off all my hair thinking it was the only way to be recognized in the LGBTQ community as an otherwise very femme-presenting gal (Spoiler alert: it totally wasn't). If you or a pal made a similar impulsive salon decision and now want that long hair back without somehow "losing" your out self, I’m here to breakdown how to grow out a pixie and still be queer. Fiercely feminine and proudly queer identities can definitely coexist, but navigating the territory comes with distinct challenges to prepare for.
Growing up in the conservative south, I never encountered any out feminine girls and assumed if you were at all queer, you had to present very masculine. I suspect this is why when I eventually came out, one of the first things I did was buzz my hair into a close-cropped pixie.
While I'm not trying to say a pixie cut automatically makes you queer (because it definitely doesn't!), I won’t lie: Having such a short style made it much easier to be automatically read that way. The only problem was, short hair just didn't feel like "me." In fact, on this very long, bobby pin-infused adventure back to ponytail land, I’ve actually ended up more comfortable in my queer identity and discovered (shocker) I can still like cis-boys and girly girls and genderqueer and trans folks in-between.
For anyone riding the same emotional hair-dentity struggle bus, below is my handy dandy queer pixie grow-out guide complete with butterfly clips, moisturizing treatments, straight passing confusion, and crushes across the spectrum.
1. Find Your Happy Place To Get Trims
Whether or not they identify as queer, find a stylist you click with and feel confident to go on this journey with because you'll be seeing them every eight weeks or so for a back end trim (many hugs to Chelsea at The Walk-In in Brooklyn for giving me an amazing pixie and then helping transform it!). It was admittedly super great to have a stylist who understood when I’d complain about how fast Jenny from The L Word's pixie grew out!
2. Consider A Color Change
OK, you obviously don't have to dye your hair when you grow out a pixie, but I loved swapping brunette for blonde as a way to completely change my look despite being limited by the short length.
3. Commit To Growing It Out (& Coming Out) Over & Over
You will inevitably hit that awkward not-pixie-not-bob phase and honestly, there's really not a lot you can do about it. The most important thing you can do right now is refuse to cut it. Commit, commit, commit to getting through this period.
Beyond avoiding scissors, also be prepared to come out to people more verbally and frequently than before. I personally realized this would be necessary after getting closer to bob-length hair and breaking up with my FTM trans ex.
Both the slightly longer hair and newfound #SingleLady-ness threw me back into “straight-passing world,” which felt incredibly strange after spending 23 years gathering the courage to leave it. But, having to now literally speak up about my identity when I choose to is even more empowering in certain ways than not needing to before.
4. Embrace Butterfly Clips & Fun Accessories
You know how nice it is to start feeling attractive again after a break-up? Butterfly clips helped me reach those feels since I could pin my too-short pieces of hair back with them and step out the door with confidence. I recommend stocking up on these and other pixie cut accessories when you hit weird bangs stage!
What totally surprised me about rocking this clipped almost-bob hair was how I started freaking out that I looked “too straight” 24/7 and no girl would actually believe me when I’d come out. Luckily, that hasn’t been the case at all.
Really, the only people that invalidate my identity tend to be ignorant cis-dudes who tell me I’m too pretty to be queer. This is totally the kind of dialogue that perpetuates femme-queer erasure so, if you have the courage when this happens to you, speak up and stand your sexy queer feminine ground! #VivaLaButterflyClips
5. Style Your Hair In Different Ways
Not too long after starting to get more comfortable with longer hair again, I ended up out on a date with a very adorable, very masculine cis-guy.
I'd curled my hair up to one side which gave it some serious flair, but now I was convinced I looked too...gay? What gives.
Panicking, I texted a bestie about this dilemma. Her response, verbatim: "Shut up, you're hot, go on your date." And that's exactly what I did.
Moral of this story? Style your hair however you want as it gets longer (I do totally recommend curling a long pixie for a change-of-pace!) and date whoever you want. Your identity is valid because it’s your identity and has nothing to do with the dead protein coming out your scalp. OK? OK.
6. Hug Your Hair & Your Heart
Sometimes both your heart and your hair just need a hug, am I right? For an ultra-conditioning oil treatment that will keep your growing hair healthy and strong (and requires you to just sit and blissfully read something like Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl for an hour while it’s in), reach for jojoba.
My stylist specifically recommends jojoba oil since it mimics the consistency of the oil your scalp naturally produces, so it’s actually more effective than coconut or flax and is also color-safe. Who knew?
7. Make It To Ponytail-Status (& Accept Your Fab Feminine Queer Awesomeness)
Yay, you did it! Your hair is in a legitimate (albeit bobby pin-filled) ponytail! Go celebrate by hitting up a Home Depot because #LesBeHonest, how good is that place?
Ultimately, I have zero regrets about getting a pixie at such an emotionally pivotal moment in my life even though I started growing it out pretty soon after. If you've been considering a pixie for any reason at all, I hope this actually encourages you to try it because 1. Hair will always grow back, and 2. Your hair, no matter what length, doesn't define you.
Images: Lindsey Rose Black