A Conversation on Gender and Wearing Hair - An Interview with Lex
No matter who you are, you have a relationship with your hair. As someone who identifies as non-binary/gender queer and has experienced hair loss, Lex’s relationship with their hair has been a rollercoaster of evolution.
Interview conducted via video call on June 22nd, 2023.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your name and what are your pronouns?
I’m Alexis or Lex and my pronouns are she/they. I am a queer, non-binary person living in Toronto, Canada
What was your relationship with your hair like growing up?
I have always had a very, sort of, intense relationship with my hair. Growing up I always viewed hair as this very like feminine thing and then like kind of moving towards puberty, I very quickly adopted hair as a form of expression.
Do you remember a moment where you realized hair was more than just a physical feature but a social symbol?
I always felt different from my peers in terms of sexuality, even my appearance and then like gender based angst. A lot of the changes my body was going through made me feel very uncomfortable. So, hair really became this like way of [showing] a version of myself that I wanted others to see forward first and drawing attention to something that I liked about myself.
That has a lot of positive emotions for me but it also, like I can recognize in hindsight, during those times I was also someone who was deeply uncomfortable in my own skin. In that way like, the hair kind of became like an armor. It was something about myself that I could control. I could use that to control how people saw me.
Do you feel like your hair journey has been intertwined with your self expression/sexuality?
It’s impossible to really separate my hair journey from my gender and sexuality journey. I had never really had like a sort of “coming out” moment. I was always very sort of, flamboyantly queer. I didn’t have the words to…articulate how I felt about my gender at the time and it wasn’t until I started experiencing hair loss that I had to reckon with how closely I associated my hair with femininity.
I had been clinging so tightly to that…alternative feminine presentation as this armor and this like tool of self expression, but an imperfect one, that when I started losing my hair…I panicked. I completely panicked. That was my armor, like I needed it.
That was like a multi-year sort of journey of…going to dermatologists, I’m sure everyone is familiar with it. Going to dermatologists, putting weird stuff on my head, like it just wasn’t working for me and it wasn’t until I felt comfortable with wigs that I decided to shave my head finally.
Does wearing wigs help you express yourself? If so, in what ways?
I didn’t expect to feel, I guess, like a freedom in letting go of being perceived as distinctly feminine or as a woman. I consider myself to have a very like fluid sort of presentation and I’m really grateful to have wigs to put that forward when I want to present more feminine or I want to change my look.
Reframing how I view wigs in the context of my gender presentation has been really empowering.
You know I used to, especially in the early days where like even when I felt good about my bald head, I very heavily compartmentalized it as like my masculine presentation versus my feminine presentation. In that same vein, I was approaching wigs in a similar way that I did to my hair when I had it. It became this sort of armor.
Once I was able to…let go of the rigidity of how I was presenting and…feel okay you know going out in a wig, unstyled with sweatpants on if that’s how I wanted to look that day... I still like dressing up. I like the pageantry of it all and I like embracing my femininity. I feel so much more empowered to do that knowing that it’s just a part of me and it’s just a sort of creative way to express myself rather than treating it like an obligation I have to society.
Weirdly enough…my hair loss helped me come to terms with my non-binary, gender queer identity in a sort of roundabout way.
Follow Lex on socials:
Keep up with Silk or Lace on socials:
Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook & Pinterest: @silkorlace