As a salon owner or beauty therapist, we’re sure that one of your main focuses is to make sure that everyone feels welcome, safe and comfortable during your treatments. While there are no set figures for the number of transgender and non-binary people in the country, latest figures from a 2019 Stonewall study suggest that transgender and non-binary people make up around 1% of the UK population – that’s around 600,000 of us. With this in mind, it’s important that those of us in the beauty industry are supportive allies and make a welcoming space for everyone.
The first thing to keep in mind is that trans and non-binary people are just that – people. Everyone is at a different stage of their journey, so it’s very important to understand exactly what your client’s needs are. Those that are not yet “out” to family, friends or work colleagues may appreciate a level of discretion. However, that’s not the case for everyone and creating an extra level of privacy that is not needed can feel like you’re trying to hide them away.
Use correct language and pronouns
This one isn’t just in the workplace, but is something that you should take through to everyday life, too. Transgender refers to someone who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, while non-binary refers to someone who does not identify with the gender binary. Using the correct language and your client’s preferred pronouns is an easy way to make them feel at ease. There are lots of resources out there to help you use the correct language, such as this helpful Instagram post.
Have privacy options
As mentioned above, people can be at different stages of their journey so having different privacy options rather than one blanket rule is crucial. For example, some clients may prefer to have an eyebrow wax in a private waxing room if they are not yet comfortable having it done in the main room. Politely asking questions in the initial consultation is the best way to meet the needs of your client.
Publicly show your support
Be sure to make it known that you are a safe space for trans clients to visit before they’ve even booked in. You can sign up to initiatives such as TransFriendly, a global directory of trans and non-binary friendly beauty businesses across the globe. Sharing this on your social media and website will help to put clients at ease and give them a warm welcome from the off.
Put their health and safety first
Some treatments, such as waxing, brow and lash tinting, and laser hair removal, require you to ask about medical history to determine whether a client is suitable for a certain treatment. As part of this, it is important to ask transitioning clients (as you would any other client) about the medication they are currently taking. Explain that this is standard procedure to enable you to carry out safe treatments.
There should be no need for you to ask about genitals or whether your client is having full reassignment surgery. This is incredibly personal and the client should only have to discuss this if they choose to. If a client is booking in for an intimate wax, they will often let you know prior.
Beauty is for everyone, which is why it’s important to make your salon a safe and welcoming space for all gender identities. The key thing you can do is the listen, be compassionate and respectful.