Is your barbershop visibly inclusive of all genders (including those who don’t conform to male and female)? Keri Blue, Barber and Founder of educational platform Human First, offers some tips to get an insight into what it’s like to be a non-binary client and barber. Keri identifies as non-binary and goes by the pronoun ‘they’, which will be referenced through the article.
Here are their 5 ways to be more inclusive when it comes to gender…
Get diverse on your social media
You may look at your barbershop and think, “hey, we welcome everyone!” when in reality you may be sending out messages that exclude several people. By not using a diverse range of representative images on your social media you are actually stopping clients, who may be looking for a welcoming space, from trying you out. Putting ‘LGBTQIA+ and Trans friendly safe space’ in your social bios, your google listing and website is the simplest way to let people know they are welcome whoever they are and however they identify. When was the last time you used a cisgender female for a “male” hair cut? How about using a guy for long hair?
Think about your service menu terminology
Do you deter non-binary/trans clients from being able to select a service because they have to choose under ‘ladies’ or ‘gents’ when they pick a service with you? This can be really tricky for people who don’t identify as either. Having a booking system that prompts pronoun checking is a great way to regularly remind your team about how important they are.
A simple inclusivity statement on your website could make that client hovering over the mouse click for an appointment at your barbershop. Here is a great example: “In this new era of gender fluidity we want to make sure our pricing reflects the chosen service and experience level of your Barber, not the gender you identify as. Not only do we believe that this is a fairer and more inclusive way of doing things, we also feel it’s necessary because of how hair trends are changing.”
Think about your price list
The next step would be to remove gender where it is not needed. Which is pretty much everywhere. Hair has no gender (I had to get it in somewhere!), so why are we charging our client by their genitals or gender identity?! Hair cuts should be priced by a few simple factors: time taken, products used (cost of goods) and skill. Outside that I believe there should be no reason why two people of different genders should get charged different prices for their hair.
Know your terminology
It can feel like a minefield out there when it comes to gender, particularly if you have never questioned your own gender. But know this: there are plenty of people out there that have, and they don’t always feel comfortable in salons. Are your staff trained and aware of pronouns? Do they know how to use them? If so, are they being used?
Here’s the basic terms that will help you navigate the world of gender non-conformity.
Cisgendered = when your gender identity matches the gender you were assigned at birth.
Non-binary = not identifying with either male or female genders.
They = the pronoun often used by people who don’t identify with either male or female genders.
Don’t stop there…
Does your business have gender neutral toilets? If you want to keep gendered toilets, are there sanitary bins in the men’s? This is a really small step towards inclusivity that you could implement in your barbershop instantly.
Inclusivity in your barbershop doesn’t just stop at gender identity, it also might mean showing various ages, races or disabilities. Does your marketing speak to everyone? If not, why?
Even the smallest steps can reassure and support others who may not identify with traditional gender labels. Your influence, on both your team and the industry at large, is very powerful. Some changes may take longer than others to implement, but every alteration you make towards a more inclusive business is confirmation that your barbershop will not tolerate bias or judgement – and a positive step towards the eradication of gender stereotypes.
Promoting your business’ inclusivity is one way you can get more clients in your barbershop –