Billy-Jo is a member of the Illamasqua team, working as a business manager in store. With experience in the beauty industry for 8 years, Billy-Jo is inspired by his role empowering others to feel their best and most confident. Part of our guest blog series, the below submission is a think piece by Billy-Jo about his experience in the LGBTQ community.
Illamasqua was established in 2008 as a brand which stands for subculture, diversity and inclusion. But above all, for people on the fringes of society, seeking beauty in a fractured world. Its namesake is a derivative of Illusion and Masquerade.
Masquerade and Illusion are parts of assuming an identity, something which we question, discern and assume in our daily lives. But what does this mean for someone who is questioning their gender? What does it mean to question and how do we manage this in a world which moves, turns and changes around us with such velocity? So much so that we begin to question ourselves, merely to conform to the norms of today? The word to question initially comes from the Latin word ‘quaero’ which means ‘to seek after.’
But what are you seeking? Every human gains their fulfilment through happiness and a positive quality of life. We must spend our time carefully discerning what is the answer to our seeking. As someone who has transitioned from male-to-female then back to my original birth gender, I may bring some truth to this matter.
Firstly, at the very moment of your first doubt, the first question of: ‘was I born in the wrong body?’, must be answered with: ‘I am made perfect.’ This is because, despite how you may be questioning your identity in this moment, does not mean there is something intrinsically wrong with you. It means you are questioning the finer details of your being which will eventually surmount to a more-fulfilled and happier life.
You may go through a period, after your initial questioning, when you begin to explore living as the gender you believe yourself to be. If you are going to do this, please ensure you have someone to walk with you.
No matter who we are in this world, every single human being is meritorious of dignity and someone to hold their hand as they go through these life changing times of questioning and discernment.
Always remember that you were made perfect in the beginning regardless of you exploring these finer details of your being.
After this period, you may decide to assume this new identity on a non-medical and non-surgical level and live a happy life, this is fine for some. However, the majority tend to undergo some form of hormonal or surgical alterations. This is to the purpose of helping them so that they can adjust to their new life (and these come with their own caveats and risks).
The changes these alterations have on the human body are both physically and mentally astronomical. From physical changes of the body to heightened sensitivity and emotions, you will begin to feel and even look different as time goes by. But always tell yourself that you were made perfect and that you are on this journey to confirm who you are as a person.
Many individuals, with these changes having taken place, can go on to lead great lives, embracing the fullness of their being. But what about those who hit a stumbling block or a crossroads? Are they destitute and in despair? No, they are still made perfect despite their questioning.
Some individuals, and in my own case, developed osteoporosis because of the hormone therapy. The majority of cases can be treated, but you also run the risk of being wheelchair–bound or developing brittle bone disease.
These are some of the unspoken consequences of transitioning.
That is not to say that you should not transition medically. However, this is why discerning the process is so important. Remember, you were made perfect in the beginning, so whatever you do must be for your happiness and yours alone.
Ultimately, I was unable to transition the way I wanted and to meet the fullness of my being, which in the beginning was heart-wrenching at the very least. However, as the months went by, I came to realise that because of the support system I already had, I was perfect no matter what part of the gender binary I chose to identify with.
So, it came to pass that for the second time in my life, I discerned back into my original gender. I knew I was doing this for the quality of my life and for the inner–most need of true happiness (and health reasons).
It goes without saying that when we take everything into consideration, your human dignity and happiness comes before anything on this earth so that you may achieve the fullness of your life, whether you decide to question, discern, transition or de-transition.
Do not be afraid, for we are with you. Answer the masquerade, the question, the ‘quaero’. Unmask the fullness of your being, no matter what that may be because in the end you are beauty and we will fit your mould no matter what gender, ethnicity, size, shape or background.
We will walk with you.