Celebration of the LGBTQIAP community during the month of PRIDE
For too long, the mainstream image of “beautiful” has been portrayed through a narrow, non-inclusive lense; white, cisgender, (a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex), female, and heterosexual.
It’s time to give others a chance to define what’s beautiful. Imagine what life would be like if we were all able to define what beautiful is for ourselves? In celebration of Pride Month, we’ve teamed up with some of our LGBTQIAP identifying friends and asked them to share their story of beauty all Pride Month long.
At Apoterra, we believe that all humans deserve to feel beautiful, and that ultimately, beauty = authenticity. In recent years PRIDE celebrations have received criticism for the lack of inclusivity, leading to further examination into the community's history and addressing issues like racism and transphobia within the community. As we listen to these critiques, it is clear that beauty in the mainstream needs an uprooting and redefining. We do not want to be merely “inclusive” in a system that was not created with all people’s well-being in mind.
As a team, we wanted to highlight our friends who identify as queer, gay, bisexual, gender fluid, trans, non-binary, lesbian, intersex, asexual, and pansexual, and speak to some of the underrepresented expressions of beauty that we cherish, hopefully expanding the norms of what constitutes BEAUTIFUL.
We realize our position within the beauty industry comes with power to make choices that can contribute to the greater conversation. In order to actively redefine beauty, we must continue to address the intersections at play; race, sexuality, gender, age, religion, and so forth.
We are not experts on these issues and we can’t address PRIDE without talking about the “uncomfortable” stuff. As a brand, we strive to be in alignment with a vision to create a place many people see themselves in as well as to formulate our products with all skin types in mind. We’re out of alignment when we don’t acknowledge these intersections. As a team and individually, we constantly check-in with the choices we make and ask ourselves, “Are the choices we make each day aligned with our mission and taking us in the direction of where we want to go?”
This reflective practice shared by anti-violence activist, Shannon Perez-Darby is one we encourage you to exercise as well as a way for you to establish your personal definition of beauty. We are not here to define beauty for you. No one but you can define beauty for yourself. You know beauty because it is a feeling.
You know beauty because it is a feeling.
If you have ever felt underrepresented by our brand, then we invite you to let us know so we can do something to change it. We encourage you to reach out to us directly through Instagram or via email at email@example.com.
We invite you to get to know some of these voices and identities as role models for what beauty can look like under a broad rainbow of possibilities. We'll be introducing you to one new beautiful soul each week this month.
Psychotherapist working with the LGBTQ community
How do you define or redefine beauty?
As I’ve gotten older and moved out of the mostly white town that I grew up in, I had more brain-space to redefine “beauty” for myself. In order to see myself as beautiful, that would mean that I would need to see Black people as beautiful. I would need to see the kinkiest of hair textures as beautiful. I would need to see dark brown eyes as beautiful. I would need to see full, abundant bodies as beautiful. I eventually just realized that white supremacist patriarchy (along with ableism, etc.) brainwashed us all and we should just blow up all of our conceptions of beauty *insert shrugging emoji*.
What is your earliest memory of learning about beauty?
When I think back, my earliest memories about “beauty” are also about colorism. I have a distinct memory of my brother saying to me, “You know, you’re lucky that you’re light-skinned.” I didn’t quite understand why he said that at the time, but I did know that I always heard other Black folks in my life saying things about lighter skinned people being attractive. They’d say the same about people with looser textured hair, narrower noses, smaller builds, lighter eyes -- all things attributed to whiteness. I came to think that people who had all of those attributes must have been more beautiful.
Who are your beauty role models? How do they inspire you?
Some beauty role models of mind are Tabria Majors, Jervae and Gabi Fresh. Those are the three folks whose instagram pages I probably frequent the most.
I like that I can see myself in them. At some point I realized that my experience on instagram was 100% better when my feed was flooded with photos of big, Black women, femmes, and TGNC folks because I was able to see myself represented in spaces that I am not usually accustomed to feeling like I can exist in.
What is your favorite Apoterra product or can you share how it makes you feel?
My absolute fave is the Tulsi Organic Body Care Set which includes a body oil and a body scrub. I just absolutely love everything about them. The most notable thing about them that really sets them apart from every single other body product I’ve used is how long the scent lasts. I could shower with the scrub in the morning, and my bathroom still smells like it when I come home late at night. I could apply the oil after a night shower and still smell like it halfway through the next day while at work.
SHOP NATTY'S FAVORITES
Check back in each week for a new feature all month long. Meet Taleaha in Part II of the series.