Over the last few weeks, there have been plenty of messages shared online calling out Kanye West’s antisemitism and supporting the Jewish community.
None have gained quite as much traction, however, as those posted by queer Jewish activist Matt Bernstein (he/they) AKA @mattxiv. Here’s an example:
If you’re familiar with Matt’s online presence, this is totally unsurprising. Self-described in his Instagram bio as a “queer jew with very long nails,” Matt uses infographics to spread awareness about social justice, often focusing on LGTBQ+ issues and antisemitism. He’s also a skilled make-up artist who likes to wear long, gorgeous nails.
Want to know more about this queer mensch? We got you!
Here are 18 things to know about Matt Bernstein.
2. He’s a Libra!
i am a libra which means i am balanced gay and unexplainably miserable
— matt (@mattxiv) May 16, 2020
3. Previously, Matt has been reticent about sharing publicly about his background.
“We spend about half of our hour+ talking about his early life, but there’s a sense of ennui throughout the conversation. His eyes meander. He’s somewhat vague,” Evan Ross Katz wrote of Bernstein in an interview.
However, Matt has shared that he’s from a New Jersey suburb!
4. Matt is gay, and he revealed in a 2020 YouTube video that he’s “always known” he was different. (However, he realized that he was gay when he was about 10 years old.)
5. In the video, he also states that, at first, Judaism contributed to him staying in the closet.
“I come from a pretty traditional Jewish family, where the idea of family and being a family unit and being close all the time with everyone in your family is super important, and having kids who you stay close with is really important. And I thought the absolute only way I could achieve that happiness was to be with a woman.”
But that isn’t to say that Matt doesn’t have a good relationship with his family or Jewishness!
6. Matt’s parents have been featured across his social media accounts.
we’re good! thanks for checking tho. happy national coming out day everyone pic.twitter.com/1MjQ14scmq
— matt (@mattxiv) October 11, 2022
7. When asked what he would say to those who oppress the LGBTQ+ community, Matt quoted gay Jewish icon Harvey Milk.
“To quote Harvey Milk, ‘It takes no compromise to give people their rights… it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom,'” he said.
8. In 2022, he published a conversation he had with fellow queer Jewish figure Tommy Dorfman about being transgender:
9. He has used his platform to speak out against anti-vaxxers who compare their experience to the Holocaust.
Thank you for your service, Matt.
10. He perfectly summed up what it’s like to be Jewish on Christmas in this tweet:
what it feels like to be jewish on christmas pic.twitter.com/x0OYSGLgzj
— matt (@mattxiv) December 24, 2020
11. On social media he’s been open about his mental health struggles:
12. Matt has a fantastic sense of style:
just trying to look like an edgy jewish grandmother in her youth pic.twitter.com/jNIUf4AUTk
— matt (@mattxiv) January 30, 2021
13. You simply have to see Matt’s make-up looks, most of which share important messages:
14. And we simply have to show you some of his nails:
15. In case you’re wondering how Matt got the idea to incorporate sociopolitical messages into his make-up looks, here’s what he told Bricks Magazine:
“I started playing around with makeup towards the end of high school and — even though it was pretty rough around the edges at first — I fell in love with the medium. At the time, I was practicing photography pretty seriously, I wanted to go into that profession. My work was focused around portraiture and political issues of identity, specifically queer issues. As my makeup got more polished, I started craving a way to incorporate it into the work I was already doing. Instagram became a place for me to express myself through increasingly charged makeup looks, and people started to take note, so I just kept going.”
16. Matt also posts about social justice on Twitter (@mattxiv), though his presence also leans into gay meme culture.
my 2 year old just handed me his class schedule. this is what they want. this is what they are doing to our children. pic.twitter.com/7nl1uRkNfi
— matt (@mattxiv) June 13, 2022
17. And, he’s posted some extremely Jewish thirst traps on Twitter!
my bi-annual twitter thirst trap ft. jewish underwear. hi gay twitter pic.twitter.com/pXXY99UwIe
— matt (@mattxiv) September 25, 2022
18. Matt understands the impact that he has with his platform.
“I was taking a walk last month, and this young person stopped me on the street and told me they had just come out to their mom as nonbinary, and how I had helped them reach that point,” he told Paste Magazine. “It made me all gushy. I don’t like to take credit for any of that stuff, but as someone who also consulted LGBTQ internet creators when I was in the closet, I understand the unique position I’m in to be a source of comfort and hope for people. I don’t take that lightly.”