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Saturday 09 April 2016

AKL Barber shop refuses to serve trans person

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 5th April 2016

An Auckland barber shop has refused to serve a trans person based on their gender identity, humiliating them and saying that they could not have their hair cut as they are “not actually a man”.

Lorren Grabarek went to the The Corner Barber Shop in Birkenhead on Sunday to have their hair cut and says they left “shocked” and “upset” when the hairdresser refused to serve them. They are now seeking an apology from the shop and are hoping the shop recognises

their discriminatory actions are illegal.
“Entering the shop, I saw a woman staring at me,” says the RainbowYOUTH intern. “I asked her if she was the hairdresser and she replied that she was but could not serve me.

“She proceeded to tell me that since I was ‘not actually a man’ I could not have my hair cut. While I was indeed looking to get a men’s style cut, she explained that I didn’t qualify since I ‘was still actually a woman, correct?’”

Grabarek identifies as genderqueer/non-binary, which is a term that falls under the umbrella term of transgender (not-conforming to cisgender binaries or male-female).
Grabarek left the shop and says they were too upset and too shocked to “counter her close-minded ignorance”.

“I felt betrayed and disoriented,” says Grabarek. “I live in a body that doesn't look the way I identify, so I spend a lot of time and thought trying to present my gender according to society's stereotypical and normalised ideas of binary genders.

“ I don't like having to present myself in a way that best approximates society's norms of gender but I choose to present as male to avoid discomfort, frustration and disorientation. When this woman told me that I ‘wasn't actually a man’, it felt like she was telling me that my efforts to present as ‘male' weren't good enough for society; were fake; weren't worthy of human decency and respect.

“I felt like I had lost not only my personal sense of self, but the ‘self’ I work so hard for society to recognise and accept. Who do I have to be to be recognised as myself in the world? And is the affirmation I seek through the way I present, even worth the time and effort when I will never be judged as ‘enough’?"

This is the first time Grabarek has tried to go to this particular barber “I was looking for a new barber, a process that takes a long time for me work up the confidence to do since I worry that a barber might ask me uncomfortable and demeaning questions about my gender.

“My worst fear going to a new barber is that they might turn me away if they knew that I'm not a cis-gender male--the very thing that happened with this barber shop.”

"Grabarek is now hoping that The Corner Barber Shop recognize their discriminatory actions are illegal, provided information about LGBTQI* issues, and make a public apology to the queer community for transphobic, heteronormative, and sexist actions.”
Following the incident, Grabarek says they had a reassuring experience at Bob the Barber, who made them feel welcomed. “Bob was super welcoming, listened and showed genuine care about my experience at the other barber shop and reassured me that I was always welcome at his shop because ‘humans are humans’,” says Grabarek.

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