A few weeks ago, performance artist Little Bear the Bearded Lady shared with the world that she no longer identifies as genderqueer, but as a cis woman. She has a beard and currently views it as part of her womanhood.
“(H)air itself doesn’t have gender. If I told you how often I had to hold my tongue every time someone implied my being bearded was ’embracing my masculine side’…NO. I am – with, because of, AND regardless of my beard, am a very very femme being. My beard doesn’t compromise or subvert that. It EXPANDS it.
Trans activist and wedding photographer, Alex Drummond, recently spoke about how she identifies as a trans woman, despite not taking any hormones, not performing any gender confirmation medical procedures, and not shaving.
“I’m widening the bandwidth of how to be a woman,” Drummond says.
But it’s not always easy to be a bearded woman. After Harnaam Kaur was baptized as a Sikh, a religion that discourages shaving, she received death threats for going public about her self-acceptance.
Many bearded women have experienced other forms of harassment, from street violence to being the butt-end of jokes, pointed to as freaks of nature as was done explicitly in the freak shows of the 19th and early 20th century that Annie Jones, pictured at the top of this blog post, was forced to perform in.
But some women and femmes find great value in not altering their facial hair to match others’ preferences.
“I would never ever go back now and remove my facial hair, because it’s the way God made me and I’m happy with the way I am,” Harnaam Kaur explains.