weather icon Clear

Gay and Lesbian center in Las Vegas offers Beau-T Day makeovers

Freddie David smiled wide, lip gloss and blush shining, on Saturday afternoon at The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada.

David was surrounded by people getting their hair and makeup done for free at the center’s Beau-T Day, an event for transgender, genderqueer and intersex people to feel pampered.

“That’s kind of why I came, to be honest; I genuinely don’t know how to do makeup,” David said. “It’s cool coming out and being in a place where people aren’t really judging you.”

The event, held the same day as the center’s queer youth prom, was for transgender people to feel at ease getting makeovers, said Ray Macfarlane, the center’s trans and gender diversity program manager. People sat at tables for massages, nail painting, hair styling or makeup while pop music played throughout the room.

“This is a space where they can come, feel comfortable, have a playful, low-stress event to look the way that they want to look,” said Macfarlane, who uses “they” pronouns. “For a lot of people it’s just, ‘I don’t feel comfortable walking into a salon,’ or ‘I don’t know anybody who can help with this.’”

Macfarlane described transgender and gender-diverse people as working on their “body projects,” which can make them feel isolated. The “slumber party” atmosphere Saturday was to show people they’re not alone.

“Gender’s not a homogeneous thing; you can’t take any person and say, ‘There, I’ve femmed you,’” they said. “I think of it as a project, an ongoing project that changes day by day.”

For David, getting their makeup done was a way to combat anxieties over coming out.

“It’s terrifying coming out, transitioning, and I’ve only just begun,” said David, who also uses “they” pronouns. “I’m still kind of working through all those anxieties with actually coming out.”

Jess Benedict sat under a salon robe while a blue-haired man worked on curling the 55-year-old’s long hair. Benedict is intersex; the 55-year-old was raised as a boy but was born with some female anatomy.

Benedict doesn’t care about pronouns, and is “just kind of rolling with it, so to speak,” Benedict said with a laugh.

“I also need makeup advise and things of that nature,” Benedict said, adding that the event Saturday felt like “a day time slumber party without the jammies.”

Paula Sadler, the owner of A Harmony Nail Spa, volunteered at the event to show people how to be “their best selves, their most beautiful self,” she said while painting a woman’s nails black.

Sadler said it was important for transgender people to know there are businesses in Las Vegas that won’t judge them.

“That’s not like that everywhere in the beauty business, a lot of our trans clients have gone to other salons and spas where people maybe give them funny looks just for having polish on their hands or wearing makeup,” she said.

Her salon has been listed with the center as a trans-friendly business for at least a decade, Sadler said, adding that she wants to help people’s confidence and self-esteem.

“In the end it’s about self-expression and freedom of self-expression,” she said. “It really comes down to freedom.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Local Videos
Bellagio Conservatory unveils Italian summer exhibit
The Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens have opened the gates to its summer display. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Summer In Las Vegas
Summer In Las Vegas (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Train derails in Northern Nevada - VIDEO
A train carrying ammunition derailed near Wells in Northern Nevada on Wed., June 19, 2019, closing part of Interstate 80, authorities said. (Michael Lyday/Twitter)
Fire damages an office complex in central Las Vegas - VIDEO
A fire causes heavy damage to an office complex at 3900 Paradise Rd. in Las Vegas on June 17, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Crash closes Las Vegas Blvd. near Fremont Street
A vehicle fleeing police crashed in the area of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard in downtown Las Vegas on Friday, June 7, 2019. (Courtesy Andy Herrera)
Clark County's third poet laureate
Heather Lang-Cassera, who will be Clark County's third poet laureate on June 1, is interviewed at the Writer's Block bookstore in Las Vegas, Friday, May 24, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
One dead, two critical in Henderson shooting
One person is dead and two juveniles are in critical condition after a Friday morning shooting in Henderson, police said. During a briefing at the scene on Friday, Lt. Kirk Moore said the preliminary investigation has revealed that this incident is likely narcotics-related.
A man whose wives were found dead 8 years apart under similar circumstances is denied bail - VIDEO
Alan Sylwester, the man suspected of killing his wife, was denied bail again Wednesday morning during his preliminary hearing in Henderson.
Chief deputy district attorney: “Justice was done” in child pornography case - VIDEO
Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney James Sweetin speaks with the media after the sentencing of Christopher Sena, the man who was found guilty in February of multiple counts of sexual assault with a minor, incest, use of a minor in the production of pornography, lewdness with a child younger than 14 and child abuse. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Spring Mountain horses don't mind the snow
Snowfall made a return to the Spring Mountains overnight, May 19, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Newly completed Project Neon HOV flyover ramp in the Spaghetti Bowl
The newly completed Project Neon HOV flyover ramp in the Spaghetti Bowl will open to traffic Monday morning, May 20, 2019, along with new HOV lanes on Interstate 15 and new HOV lane regulations on the HOV lanes on I-15 and U.S. Highway 95. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, Clark County fire departments face off in burger eating challenge
Las Vegas City Fire Department battled Clark County Fire Department in a burger eating contest Thursday at a local Farmer Boys restaurant to raise money for the Southern Nevada Burn Foundation. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Courtyard Homeless Resource Center employees talk about their termination
Employees from the Courtyard Homeless Resource Center talk about their termination. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Highlights from the 2019 Helldorado Parade
The 2019 Helldorado Parade, which dates back 85 years, took place Saturday morning in downtown Las Vegas as part of the Las Vegas Days, formerly known as Helldorado Days, annual cowboy-themed event with a nod to the Wild West.
Clouds move across Las Vegas Valley (Michael Quine)
After record rainfall of nearly a half-inch soaked the Las Vegas Valley on Thursday evening, clouds cover the valley Friday morning with forecast for some additional rain.
Las Vegas rain tops annual average – in May
Las Vegas has now received more rainfall so far this year than the city sees in an entire average year. We’ve had 4.2 inches of rain through May 10th. The average amount for the whole year is 4.19 inches. (Harrison Keely/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Weather | Steady Rain Falls in Northwest Valley
A steady rain falls near U.S. 95 North and Ann Road in northwest Las Vegas on Thursday, May 9, 2019. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Navigate Project Neon road features
How to navigate a trio of newly opened Project Neon road features. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rain at Aviators ballpark
Rain at the Las Vegas Aviators Ballpark on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 (Jason Lilly)
Tropicana/I-15 Interchange
The planned $200 million project is slated to begin in 2022 and finish in 2024. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas kids court and Harry Potter
Fourth graders from Hickey Elementary School made their case against Harry Potter at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Friday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Free genetic testing through the Healthy Nevada Project
Clark County residents will be able to receive free genetic testing through the Healthy Nevada Project this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Treasure hunting in Las Vegas
Sarah Collins considers herself a modern-day treasure hunter. As one of the co-owners of Main Street Peddlers Antique Mall, located in downtown Las Vegas, Collins is constantly looking for antique goods to sell in the store. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
May 2nd is James Holzhauer Day
Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick presents “Jeopardy!” champ James Holzhauer with a proclamation and key to the Las Vegas Strip.
Linda Smith talks about her recently published book "Unwanted"
Linda Smith talks about her recently published book "Unwanted" in her home in Henderson, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Asparagus harvesting at Gilcrease Orchard
Sixty acres of agricultural land in the the Las Vegas Valley offer a diverse choice of fruits and vegetables that consumers can select and pick themselves. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Thedrick Andres becomes Henderson Police Department acting chief
Henderson Police Department Acting Chief Thedrick Andres speaks about his goals in his new position at the Henderson Police headquarters, Monday, April 29, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rain near the Spaghetti Bowl in central Las Vegas
Rain and some hail fell in the Spaghetti Bowl in central Las Vegas on Monday, April 29, 2019. (Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hail, rain in Las Vegas Valley
Rain and hail in Southern Highlands southwest Las Vegas, Monday, April 29, 2019. (Caitie Lilly/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Formerly homeless veteran purchases her first home
Ana Martinez, a veteran who was homeless two years ago, walks into her Las Vegas home for the first time as a homeowner mindful of those who didn't make it back. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto