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Saturday 09 April 2016

RY says discrimination at barbers is common

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 6th April 2016

RainbowYOUTH’s National Manager says that an incident that occurred over the weekend when a gender-diverse RY intern was refused service at a barber shop on Auckland’s North Shore is a common story.

Lorren Grabarek was refused service at The Corner Barber Shop in Birkenhead
“We often get messages or requests asking about hairdressers who are safe/identity affirming” says Duder, “and we welcome anyone’s suggestions from all over Aotearoa so that we can pass on their names when people ask.

“Lorren hit on an important point when they said that getting dressed and getting your hair done can be a huge act of self-care for people, and when it becomes a space of transphobia it can be just incredibly damaging.”

Duder says that for a gender diverse person, getting a haircut can be a big event. “This person at the barber shop might not even understand what they did was wrong,” she says “but often it takes days and weeks for queer and gender diverse people to work up the courage to go and get a haircut.

“Most people don’t even give it a second thought. It’s seen as a luxury. For queer and gender diverse people, it can be a nerve-wracking and negative experience - just what Lorren experienced.”

She says that if other young people find themselves in a similar situation they need to make sure they are safe in the immediate aftermath of the situation, “that they are near a person who cares about them, or in a safe place where they can process the experience.

“If they want to speak out, or challenge the situation, they can contact Youth Law - who provide free legal advice for young people.RainbowYOUTH also can support them through this process, and connect them to any other support services they may be needing.”

Duder encourages any queer and gender diverse people to send us RainbowYOUTH recommendations of hairdressers so that the LGBTI community can give these supportive companies our business.

“We 100% support Lorren in speaking out about this discrimination. It’s unacceptable and we hope that Lorren speaking out will help call attention to the transphobia that exists everyday for gender diverse people.” Daily News has contacted The Corner Barber Shop and is awaiting comment from the barber in question.

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