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03 June 2021
Posted by in Wellness

What can you do to make your business more welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community?

Welcoming LGBTQ+ community

Pride Month is here, and it’s a time when we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) and their many contributions across society.

Pride Month is here, and it’s a time when we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) and their many contributions across society. As a hair or beauty professional, you know the exciting impact this community has had on the industry over the decades. The traditional ‘male’ and ‘female’ trends became more gender neutral, and this kind of self-expression is something that we can all now enjoy.

Hair and beauty are two of the key ways that we can display our individual identities, and so Pride Month gives you the perfect chance to help LGBTQ+ clients express themselves. Before we give you some helpful pointers on how to encourage a diverse mix of clients in the salon or as a freelancer, let’s remind ourselves why Pride Month is so important.

What is Pride Month?

Pride Month is an annual event celebrated every June, and it coincides with the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

In the early hours of 28 June 1969 police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City, which was an established safe haven for members of what was then just called the lesbian and gay community. After having been the target of years of harassment they fought back, and this pivotal moment of change was felt in both America and around the world.

Spurred on by this day in June 1969, people from all walks of life and from every corner of the globe now come together to celebrate the achievements of those who fought, and continue to fight, against division. With parades, parties and demands for a more inclusive world, history continues to be made in the fight for equality.

While there have been many positive strides for LGBTQ+ rights across the UK, there are still those who experience abuse every day. Change for the better starts with people being more understanding and accepting of others, and this is where you can help.

How can my business be more inclusive?

Being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community in 2021 means more than just displaying a rainbow flag for thirty days. Inclusivity and diversity in your salon, or wherever you work, needs to be long-term. Remember that positive change often happens with small but impactful steps. So, to help steer your hair or beauty business in the right direction, here are five ways that you and your staff can create a welcoming space for LGBTQ+ clients.

Listen to your client

If you have a client who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, the best thing you can do during their consultation is to take a step back and listen to them. While you may be an expert in hair or beauty, your client is the expert on their own identity, preferences and what they want from their appearance. So remember to give them the opportunity to talk before you start offering any suggestions.

Listening is a necessity in any hair or beauty appointment, but it is especially important if your client has just started coming to terms with their sexuality and/or gender identity. Be open-minded and handle each client’s request with sensitivity.

Remove gendered assumptions

The assumption that ‘long hair is for women and short hair is for men’ is completely out of date. However, hair salons, barbers and beauty salons can often still fall into these old stereotypes without realising it. To avoid situations that could make your potential clients feel uncomfortable, remember to think about every client as a true individual.

If a man walks into your nail bar don’t jump to the old stereotype that ‘manicures are for women’ and turn them away. In the same way, if a woman walks into your barbers then welcome them and treat them as you would any other client during their visit. This will put you at ease, it will make them feel comfortable, and you’ll probably have a new regular appointment.

Learn more about why LGBTQ+ businesses are flourishing by reading Scissoring 101.

Safety (and care) first

If you have any transgender, non-binary or intersex clients who walk into your salon or freelance business, it’s important to have all the information so you can fully help them. It needs to be a relaxing and safe salon experience for you both, so some of the questions may include:

  • Status of their transition journey. Are they pre or post-op?
  • Any medications, such as hormone replacement therapy?
  • Any surgeries or plans to have surgery in the near future, for example breast enhancements or a mastectomy?

One treatment where this sort of information is vital is waxing, as each area requires specific training and application. To avoid any confusion or upset, make sure you give your clients all of the information about their treatment and procedure when they book their appointment, whether that’s by email or phone. It’s also worth repeating all of this again on the day because some of your clients, especially trans men and women, may have questions that they’re nervous to ask. Talking them through the process will put both of you at ease.

Allow room for privacy

All of the longstanding clients that come to your salon or freelance business have their own unique reasons for wanting the treatment or service that you offer. The same will apply to members of the LGBTQ+ community, although they may also be nervous, and so it’s worth thinking ahead.

Part of this includes the option of privacy, especially if this is their first time having a professional treatment. So if your client feels uncomfortable then offer them the option of a private room if there’s one available. This might seem like a very small change to you, but it can be a big step towards making that person a regular client.

Show compassion

For many transgender and non-binary clients, getting a professional hair or beauty treatment is an important step in the journey towards self-expression. It can be very liberating, but it can also be very daunting. Remember that many will still be facing discrimination in various ways, so conversation to be sensitive around includes:

  • Deadnaming (using a client’s birth name without consent)
  • Misgendering (using pronouns assigned at birth instead of their preferred pronouns)
  • Intrusive questions about anatomy or gender identity

We’re all interested in learning new things but, if you have a question about anything to do with LGBTQ+, find the answers outside of the salon. Always treat your clients with respect because it’s not your intentions that matter, it’s how what you say impacts your clients.

For more information about making your workplace inclusive you can visit the Stonewall website.

At Salon Services we believe everyone deserves to look good and feel their best, regardless of gender identity or sexuality. For more tips on making your salon or freelance business a safe and inclusive space, be sure to stay updated on our
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