Speaking of Beards and Femininity

Men wearing women’s clothes, women with beards, Eurovision Song Contest drama and a whole lot of debate later I stumbled upon the story of 23-year-old Harnaam Kaur. It’s not directly related to Conchita nor her choice of outfit, but still a response to some of the mean and bullying comments I found on my feed yesterday alongside a predominantly positive response. There are as many set-ups of gender, sexuality, preferences and fantasies as there are people out there and that isn’t a problem in itself – the people who judge, bully and hurt are the issue.

“Meet the 23-year-old girl who’s growing a beard — and says she feels more feminine than ever. Harnaam Kaur, from Slough, suffers with polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes excessive hair growth. She was just 11 years old when it started appearing and she spent her teenage years desperately trying to remove it by waxing twice a week and covering her body in baggy clothes. The primary school teaching assistant endured vile abuse at school and strangers would stare at her on the street. Harnaam became so self conscious she refused to leave her house, except to go to lessons, and at her lowest point she began self harming and even considered taking her own life. But, at the age of 16, she finally found the courage to accept her facial hair after being baptised as a Sikh. The religion dictates that the body should be left in its natural state and body hair must be left to grow. The decision proved controversial with her family but Harnaam was determined to show that she was beautiful no matter what she looked like. Today, seven years on, she says she is more body confident than ever before and hopes her story will help other women in her situation.”

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