Gay Beauty Standards- Shattering the Glass Slipper

Just like any other Beauty Standards, Gay Beauty Standards can be an oppressive and soul destroying aspect of the LGBTQ+ community. There is definitely a ‘model’ for what the perfect gay man looks like, in the eyes of the majority. I just thought I’d explore the pressures and prejudices that can beat down on an individual, struggling to find out where they’re suppose to fit in a community that is suppose to be inclusive and diverse. I’ve written some Poetry/ Prose reflecting on some Gay Beauty Standards, hoping to capture some of my own personal feelings on the subject. By no means is this an exhaustive or comprehensive reflection, as every individuals experiences are different.

Gay Beauty Standards- Shattering the Glass Slipper

It can be hard enough growing up Queer. Watching those around you blossom, whilst you are still trying to figure out what kind of flower you are. There is so much expectation and with that of course comes huge potential for disappointment, for ridicule. We have supposedly earned the right to love others, but what about the right to love ourselves.

There are often years of silence and disguise, trying to fit into a mould meant for someone else. I have always been an ugly Sister.

That glass slipper rigid and transparent, there is no room for difference here. Though we try. With toes clenched into fists, bones cracked- unrecognisable. No wonder I’ve always felt so angry.

But under pressure, glass has a tendency to shatter. Now finally free of restraint, yet still we walk across razor shards. Those lethal grains of sand. Still every time I take a step, my bloody feet remind me what is expected, even now.

Maybe it is as a young gay boy I struggled with my body. I saw the muscles on television and the angular faces on street corners, convinced myself that was what I wanted to look like. So anything less meant I was falling short. If I can only love myself when I look like those Men in the photographs. Then surely that is the only way other Men will find me attractive .

Maybe I was homophobic, aspiring to one day look as masculine as possible to counteract the Queerness, that so many people still find so hard to swallow.

Gay Beauty Standards are often the body types that many of those Queer boys just like myself were hoping to one day be like. I still haven’t figured out the dynamics. Are these things deemed as standards because people are only attracted to these hyper masculine images? Therefore feel as though they need to become that standard, if they ever stand a chance of being desired by others? Or are most people presuming that that is the only kind of man gay men find attractive?

Hence break themselves into that mould.

Maybe they’re just doing it for themselves?

With all that aside there are Beauty Standards within the Gay community that make every single one of us a ticking time bomb. The younger you are the more attractive you are perceived as being. The whiter you are or the more athletic you are, the more attractive you are perceived as being. It’s not right, but it’s a prejudice happening on our doorsteps.

Being shafted by members of our own community for attributes we cannot change. That we wouldn’t want to change even if we could. We work so hard to be accepted for who we are, then realise we are not beautiful in the eyes of many of our own people.

I haven’t figured out a solution to these things yet. I am sorry to disappoint.

But one thing I know for certain, is I need to work towards one day looking in the mirror and being happy with what I see. To love myself wholeheartedly, knowing I am glorious, so nobody can tell me any different.

I hope you may have already realised the same for yourself, but incase you needed to hear it- you are extraordinary and are growing even more beautiful by the day.


I recently wrote about the Vitality of Pride for Queer and LGBTQ+ people. Please give that a read if you missed it.


10 thoughts on “Gay Beauty Standards- Shattering the Glass Slipper

  1. A well written and thought provoking piece of writing. You’ve clearly identified the minority of societies stereotypical view towards homosexuality in general at the same time the psychological torture namely self esteem, confidence and self worth that so many young people suffer with when presented with such stigma.

    1. Thank you so much for reading. I’m sure there are many aspects of Queer self esteem that I have missed out but the consensus I suppose, is how we have to vey for twice as much approval in the world where approval is not offered up willingly. Thanks again! X

  2. What amazing negativity you unveil; there is prejudice in every community but I love the force of your determination to look in the mirror and be happy with who you see. It is a hard thing to do, and I have not completely done it yet, but I know it can be reached.

    I love being different; ordinary is an ordinary life.

    1. Thank you, I think a lot of the issues come from internal disapproval, so definitely hope to work on that first. Then we can change the world. Thank you for reading and sharing your own take on things. Ordinary is not for me x

  3. Hi Keiran,
    I would say be you and do not try to be like somebody else. Beauty standards change.
    Do not listen to prejudice, listen to your heart.
    Wishing you to be able to look in the mirror and be happy 🙂

  4. Brilliantly articulated and absolutely strikes a chord with my experience as a gay man. Sadly I feel these ‘standards’ are only getting worse given the increased prevalence of eating disorders amongst gay men and social media influences. The more we discuss and make others conscious of what we’re all often guilty of perpetuating - hopefully the better chance we have of making a positive change.

    1. Thank you and yes I think you are right, it is so difficult to alter the collective thoughts of these standards, when a lot of gay culture has popularised and idealised such a standard, that many have grown up admiring. It is a tough one, but like you say it all starts with acknowledging our contribution to the issue and maybe redefining our own definitions of what beauty is. Thank you for reading!

  5. Wow! So well written and powerful. It’s so sad that with all the prejudice and judgement in the word that it still happens in an environment that should be a safe place. I hope you find the confidence you need to ignore the negativity and be comfortable in your own skin.

  6. Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based upon on the same topics you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would enjoy your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.|

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