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Written By & Pictured Above: Yamille Bassi
Eighteen. That’s how old I was when I admitted to myself that I was gay for the first time. Having gone to catholic high school and elementary school, it was engrained in me from a very young age that being gay was not something that you wanted to be. I didn’t even know how to be gay, let alone how to express myself. Once I graduated, I moved to San Diego and started learning and exploring about what it meant to be gay.
I began with the stereotypical items, flannels and snapbacks. While these items did help me express myself, there was still something missing.
One day I knew what it was, and the thought itself made me feel very anxious.
I wanted to get rid of my long hair; I wanted to cut my hair short.
But I couldn’t just cut off all of my hair could I? What would my parents, who are immigrants from very traditional countries, think about this? How would my life change? Would I walk around all the time wondering what people thought of me? Would my friends and family disown me after realizing why I cut my hair?
All of these thoughts raced through my head for months, down to the very last second that those scissors made the first cut. There was no turning back.
Fast-forward a year later, and my hair is long once again. You may ask, “but what made you grow it out?”
The answer is as simple as it is difficult, I was tired of listening to all of the negative remarks that my family threw at me whether they were intentional or not.
“I miss your long hair.”
“Are you going for the boy look?”
“Why don’t you wear a nice blouse or a little heel once in a while?”
“Oh I see, you’re going for that dyke-y look!”
And the most painful one, asked by my mother...“Well how do you expect to get a job looking like that?”
Ouch Mom. Nice to know that you have more faith in what my hair looks like to get me a job rather than my personality and skill sets.
That very question was the reason that I decided to cut my hair again, because this is who I am.
Short hair gives me the confidence that long hair will never be able to give. Short hair perfectly expresses my masculine gender expression that I prefer. My haircut does not define who I am, but my haircut is a part of who I am.