From Gay Liberation to Beard Liberation

In Uncategorized on July 7, 2017 by kmflett

From Gay Liberation to Beard Liberation

With the LGBT Pride procession in London this Saturday and the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act on 27th July- which started the process of decriminalising male homosexuality- a brief note on the relationship between gay liberation and beard liberation seems in order.

The idea of ‘liberation’ which means a good deal more than having ‘rights’ on equality, important though those are, is not one perhaps that has a wide a currency as it did have decades ago.

Even so the Beard Liberation Front, formed in the mid-1990s, to campaign for the rights of the hirsute, was a nod to the idea of liberation, albeit a much more light hearted one, in the main.

It’s a while since I’ve had a discussion with a journalist about the matter so it’s worth underlining that while you can be oppressed as a result of your sexuality this is not the case with wearing a beard in general. For most people if there is an issue with having a beard the best solution is to shave it off, albeit hopefully only on a temporary basis. Obviously that is not the case if the beard is worn for religious or related cultural reasons, but here if pogonophobia raises its head, the oppression is on the basis of religion or sometimes race, not because of the beard as such.

Having, hopefully, cleared up that important and serious point back to the wider and hopefully more fun bit.

Why beard liberation? Because wearing a beard can be a liberation in terms of being able to dress and appear as you want rather than the wait society expects or wants you to appear. The link with the early days of gay liberation is hopefully clear. Outrageous sometimes, but why not?

The specific link is of course with Bear culture, the aspect of LGBT culture that focuses on beards…


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