Bedrick hoped to make their class as accessible as possible — holding it virtually, so anyone could attend from anywhere, using live captions, and offering techniques of varying difficulty. The curriculum would address a few starters: contouring tips, eyeliner basics, and how to paint on facial hair with makeup.
“The influx of transphobic legislation we’re seeing as a country right now is directly harmful to individuals who identify anywhere in the gender expansive spectrum, so support for [those] folks — whether it’s through gender-affirming makeup instruction, monetary aid, [or some other kind of support] — is absolutely vital in counteracting the amount of negativity and danger transgender and non-conforming folks are facing on a daily basis today,” Bedrick adds.
And so on a chilly February weeknight, Bedrick began by showing examples of low-cost products that can help with makeup basics, like a brow tint pen, eyeliner pot, contour palette, stipple sponge, and liquid black eyeliner. They were quick to point out they weren’t recommending specific products — or encouraging viewers to spend beyond their means.
“One of the biggest things about going to a makeup class at a place like Sephora or Ulta or any store is that you’re inevitably being asked to participate in a capitalist program,” Bedrick said. “And that means there’s barriers to access for people who may not feel like they can spend money, or who feel intimidated by the often very ‘feminine’ aesthetics of the business. So having a space where there’s no pressure to use certain products or to fit a certain aesthetic is very liberating.”
Julie is a 30-year-old from Philadelphia who is bigender. They bought a few items from Target in preparation for Sy’s class. “I already owned the makeup that I wear every day to make myself feel like I could present myself to the world, but I didn’t have the makeup to make myself feel like who I am on the inside,” she says. (Julie, who works in educational administration, did not want their last name to be published.)