This Toronto business owner is creating safe space salons for the LGBT community
Kristin Rankin says getting a haircut should be a positive experience for everyone
For many people, a haircut is just a haircut.
But Kristin Rankin knows just how important a positive salon experience can be — especially for transgender youth.
"I know of a lot of instances where they don't even get serviced," Rankin told CBC News reporter Ioanna Roumeliotis. "Or if they do get serviced, they feel terrible about the service. We don't want them to have that experience coming into our salons."
"We want them to walk in and sit down, have a nice conversation, get the haircut they want and leave feeling as amazing as they possibly can."
Rankin is the co-owner of Fuss Hair Studio in Leslieville and founder of an initiative called The Dress Code Project. It's a campaign to create safe spaces in salons for people in the LGBT community.
Rankin partnered with a community group supporting transgender youth to offer free styling and created an online directory where people can find inclusive salons close to them.
One of her clients is 16-year-old Liz Courtemanche, who came out as transgender last year.
"Throughout most of my life, there has been a disconnect between how I feel and how I appear," Courtemanche said. "I've never looked how I felt. And so now that I'm closer to it, it's just overwhelming and, like, very... it's a good feeling."
"It's a very, very good feeling."
The Dress Code Project is already spreading to salons in Montreal, Vancouver and even Durham, North Carolina. You can find a list of those locations on the project's website.
With files from Ioanna Roumeliotis and Jennifer Barr