I have been trying for years to figure out how I can run a gender neutral salon. This year, 2021, I met a new friend in my life, Sam Marshall, who is a trainer in gender neutral salons.
Sam has really helped me figure out how I can create a gender neutral environment and make sure that EVERYONE is welcomed into my salon.
My uncle was gay in a time when coming out was a huge thing to do back in the 1980's. He used to dress up as a drag act a few times a year.
I was so close to my uncle. He used to take me to London a couple of times a year to go and watch stage shows together. He always insisted I wore a dress and had pretty hair before he would take me anywhere. I was a little girl who was as ungirly as you could get, but it was all part of our special day out and I did it gladly. Sadly he passed away when I was 11, but he was a huge influence in my young life.
I am so fortunate to have met some of the most amazing people who were his dear friends. Back then, I remember a few of them sadly passing away from aids. I am so grateful that this horrible disease is a thing of the past and that now-a-days with medications HIV is no longer the death sentence it once was. There are a few people who are not lucky enough to make it through, but thankfully they are few these days rather than many.
I feel that because I have always been brought up openly around homosexuality, I am fortunate that I don't see it as someone being different, and that are just being themselves!
My cousin came out as gay 10 years ago. When she told me she was petrified. I just said 'SO?' and she looked at me with her jaw on the floor in complete shock! I asked her why she was looking at me that way and her answer broke my heart. She said 'because everyone I have told so far has been shocked and taken aback and started to treat me differently. I was also bullied at work because of it' I can't get my head around why people act differently towards others who are supposedly 'different'. To me, I do not see colour, or race. I do not back away or feel embarrassed if i see two women together or two men kissing.
I will always be proud of my upbringing and I will always feel honored and proud to have had an uncle who was openly gay in a time that was violent and disrespectful towards the LGBTQ community.
I have very few friends who are gay, or know many gender neutral or transgenders, but I respect you all, and am so proud to be in a position now, thanks to Sam, to be able to make all who come to my salon feel welcomed, just by having a new price lists that no longer has 'Male' or 'female' prices, just time based services.
I had the absolute privilege whilst on Sam's course to speak to two people who are transgender and are on their journey to transition.
I thought I was a salon owner who cared about how you feel when you walk into the salon knowing I can help you feel more comfortable by not having small things like 'gents cuts' or 'ladies cuts' on the price list. I realise I was actually sounding discriminating to transgenders, and it really helped being able to talk to the two beautiful human beings going through their journey, as to what small changes I can make to help you feel comfortable coming into the salon.
So that being said, I hope that now you have read my story, you can understand how and why I feel it so important to be part of a gender neutral environment, so that you will feel confident and comfortable coming to visit me in the salon for all your hair and beauty needs here at Obsession Hair and Beauty in Hambrook