Gender identity and sexual politics can be difficult to navigate, but in this day and age they don't hold up as excuses to negate each other.
Gay couple, boyfriend [26M] doesn’t like me [24M] wearing make-up
Let me start off by saying, I've always been a feminine guy. Growing up, I hung out almost exclusively with girls because I liked their games, toys and just the way of playing a lot better. I was raised in an atheist household and wasn't burdened with homophobia coming from my family, but I was bullied extensively at school because of my appearance and interests. I am naturally extroverted but this experience made me withdrawn and awkward, I even developed selective mutism in middle school and became extremely self-conscious. To avoid being teased, I'd go to great lengths to mask my natural tone of voice and mannerism so I could blend in with the crowd more easily.
It was only when I left my hometown for college that I was able to live more authentically. I studied art history and our department was full of queer and gender non-conforming people. No one cared about the way you presented yourself, in fact, I felt encouraged to be myself. I decided to embrace everything that others wanted me to feel ashamed about: my sexuality, interests, looks, voice, etc. At this time, I started experimenting with wearing make-up and nail polish because I loved watching YouTube tutorials on this topic and I always used to do it for my friends but I was too intimidated to try it on myself. I decided I really liked the way it made me feel – I could hide pimples or bumps on a bad skin day, bring out my eyes with mascara and eyeliner or shape my eyebrows. I don't do it on a daily basis, mostly for special occasions, nights out, or when I just want to boost up my confidence.
Before getting together with my current boyfriend, I was in a four-year relationship with another guy my age who was more of a typical man's man than I am but he was always supportive of my interests and didn't care that I was feminine. This is why I didn't feel like "I like to wear make-up here and there" was something I would have to negotiate in a relationship. But my boyfriend of six months now, who is pretty outwardly masculine, was kind of shocked the first time I told him I wanted to put on mascara and eye-shadow before going out dancing. He didn't stop me from doing it but I could tell that he was uncomfortable while we were out. We had a talk about it when we came home and he couldn't understand why I would ever want to wear make-up as a guy. I explained to him that it makes me feel good and confident but from what I understood, in his mind, he equated this to drag and crossdressing and thought I might want to be a woman. He comes from a more traditional household and works in construction so he's never really had contact with queer (other than gay) people like I have during my studies. I told him I couldn't go back to hiding who I was, not even for him, and he promised to try and learn more about gender non-conformity and work towards accepting this part of me.
The problem is he hasn't fulfilled that promise. We got into a pretty bad fight recently because I wanted to wear make-up when we attended his (female) friend's bachelorette party. All of the girls agreed to wear red lipstick as an inside joke and they asked me if I wanted to join in too, since they knew I might be interested. I agreed and my boyfriend was out of his mind when he found out. He said I was embarrassing him on purpose and that everyone would think we were a joke. I pointed out that people who thought gay couples were a joke would continue to think so regardless of the make-up and that wasn't our problem but I could tell he was still mad and thought I didn't take his concerns seriously.
In the end, I compromised and passed on the lipstick for that evening and although we still had a good time, I actually hate that I did that. I feel like I'm being pushed back into the closet by my own boyfriend, who's supposed to be the one person to support me even when no one else does. I love him, but I can never be that kid I was in school again. I understand his bringing-up was different and that he also feels the pressure to conform as a gay man but I don't think it's our job to change in order to accommodate others. I just don't know how I can make him understand my point of view.
TL;DR I'm a feminine gay man who sometimes wears make-up. My current boyfriend is more masculine and traditional and he can't come to terms with this part of me. I'm feeling divided between his wish to conform with social expectations and my identity and I'm not sure how to proceed.
Here was some of the advice he got.
I think it's still early in the relationship, and though he's off to a bad start on keeping his word, you need to call him out on this and let him know he's not doing what he said he would do.
I highly, highly doubt those girls asked you if you wanted to wear lipstick to make fun of you. Idk if you know, but a lot of girls love gay guys. They wanted to make you feel included.
But if you continue to see him making little to no effort to accept you, then you may have no choice but to leave him.
You need to be you. I don't think this is the right guy for you. I'd hate to see someone inching back into the closet for their partner. It really sucks that he didn't let you take part of the red lipstick thing at the party. It sounds like everyone else wanted to include you and you wanted to do it and he stopped that for you.
That wasn't a compromise. A compromise is where you meet in the middle. This was both of you wanting conflicting things, and you not getting the thing you wanted and him getting the thing he did. I'm not saying he's an awful person, but he's going to have to learn to accept this part of you if he wants to date you, because otherwise the 'compromise' looks like it'll be you making yourself smaller and sadder for someone else, and receiving nothing you shouldn't be receiving as part of a relationship anyway.
How does he react if you wear some make up at home?
He might be having trouble because he feels he needs to conform. Plenty of people feel that, even the most straight, cis, gender-conforming people. As a species we tend towards conforming in like groups.
If you feel like he is trying to make an effort, I'd suggest you occasionally use make up at home to get him used to it. If you only wear it to occasions, and he's focused on fitting in (as he perceives it), it could be driving some of his reaction.
If he's stuck on his "guys don't wear make up", you two are just not compatible.
I don't understand the problem...
Your bf has already said he is uncomfortable with parts if you, and is only happy when you're not being you.
He understands perfectly fine, he just doesn't like it.
Wear the make up wherever you want. If he has issues, then they are HIS issues. Not yours.
You are right, a partner should support you being you.
He should... or find someone that does.
It really is that simple.
While he's allowed to want to date someone that won't wear makeup, its not his place to control you and your self expression over his discomfort - not when he had, and still has, the opportunity to break up if it's a dealbreaker for him.
Saying he's willing to put more effort into learning about gender nonconformity, etc, is useless when he wont actually do so. unless he is willing to love you for who you are, a relationship like this just doesn't sound healthy to me, especially when it comes to something harmless, and especially when you've already spent a lot of your life having to suppress who you are.
(I'm a mostly closeted lesbian, i get how shitty it is to feel like you have to hide parts of yourself just to feel accepted. you deserve better than to have to go back to that.) You deserve someone that loves every part of you, or at least someone who wont be a jerk about it. he cant even refrain from doing that.
Especially the fact that he seems to think you're doing this to embarrass him seems like a lack of good faith - i would want the person I'm dating to take my word for it if i told them its for self expression.
I know this sub jumps to the whole breaking up thing a lot, and i don't know how often you've discussed this with him besides the conversations you've mentioned, so it would probably be good to sit down with him again to share your perspective on things and let him share yours. but if he cant get over the fact that this is part of who you are, then sadly you might both be better off separated. whatever the result may be, i do hope things work out for the best!
I'm not gay or LGBT+ in any way so my opinion probably won't count because I don't know what it's all like for you.
But, makeup isn't just feminine. Even historically it was worn by men too. The idea of it being exclusively for women is just BS thanks to the way society has developed. Once upon a time, women didn't wear trousers because they were too 'masculine'. Now pretty much everyone does.
Most importantly though is, you do you. Don't change anything about yourself to make others happy. You have to put your own happiness first. If your boyfriend can't deal with you wearing makeup, he needs to ship out and let you be with someone who totally supports you.
It sounds like your boyfriend is still hasn't been exposed to a lot of diversity in the LGBTQ community and might be insecure still. Which sounds exhausting for you to have to educate him. Are there any social LGBTQ groups or events near yall ? Is there a chance he finds makeup unattractive? Would not being able to wear makeup be a deal breaker for you?
I can almost guarantee that some of the female commenters/readers who have CIS boyfriends/husbands would lose their sh-t if they started wearing makeup, but expect a gay man to be completely okay with it just because he's not straight. And that it must be bullsh-t like 'internalized homophobia'.
Unless you would be completely fine with your male partner going out with you, wearing bring red lipstick, mascara and foundation- you're in no position to judge.
That said, OP you deserve to be able to be yourself. Unfortunately you may not be able to do that with your current boyfriend. And that's okay. It's okay for him to have preferences. It's okay for you to try to come to an understanding. It's also okay for you to leave him if he can't be happy with the way you want to be. I hope you manage to sort things out!
I think there could be certain circumstances where him asking you to not wear makeup would be ok. For example, meeting his family, attending a ceremony or reception or maybe something related to his work. Not that it's right per se, just that I would get him being uncomfortable about it at those times. Agreeing to not wear makeup during those types of events would be compromising if in return he didn't give you a hard time the other times you DO choose to wear makeup.
But you have to talk to him and determine if he's actually willing to "try" to get used to you wearing makeup or what he really meant was, I'm not ok with it and I'm going to push back every time my bf tries, until HE stops doing it. Have the conversation and then if he says he'll make an effort I say start wearing makeup more. Nothing crazy, but if you two go to dinner, throw on a winged liner and do your brows. Actually get him used to you wearing makeup as a semi-regular thing. If he's not willing to compromise and was only paying you lip service, you'll know pretty quickly.