12 LGBTQIA Hair Professionals Talk Hair & Identity

If the recent influx of rainbow accessories in stores, or high-energy parades in major cities, are any indication, June is Pride Month! To celebrate, we asked prominent LGBTQIA hair experts how their hair impacts their identities.

 

(So you don’t have to Google it: LGBTQIA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Queer, Intersex and Asexual.)

Everyone has a different relationship with their hair, whether it’s a form of expression or an accessory to enhance their looks. Read on to discover how hair pros feel about their own manes — colors, cut, and styling included.

Chris Dylan

Celebrity Hair Stylist, Los Angeles

“Hair lives with a feeling that some would describe as masculine or feminine and has been tied to gender for centuries. For me, I identify as a man but do not feel myself with short hair. Long hair is where it’s at for me. My long hair makes me feel hot, and I love that in this day and age, long or short hair is accepted on anyone — guy, girl, or in between.”

“Since a very young age, my hair has always been a reflection of the essence of my soul. It is dense, rebellious, sensitive, strong, androgynous, ethnique, fun, commands attention, confident, bold, beautiful. It is forever evolving and changing with time, it is never dull, damaged, or boring.”

Sally Hershberger

Sally Hershbeger Salon Celebrity Hairstylist, New York City

“I never feel more effortlessly ME than when my hair looks great my hair is part of what gives me the confidence to live authentically as my true self.”

Stephanie Amil

R Shears Style Salons Hair & Makeup Artist, Methuen, Massachusetts

“I have never let my hair define my gender, because I’ve went from the G.I Jane look to the Barbie long blonde hair — and with both I felt beautiful, strong and free! Since I was young, I’ve always experimented with colors, cuts, and many different styles, so I guess you can say I’m #HAIRFLIUD”

Zachary Morad

Freelance Hair Stylist, Los Angeles, California

“I think that for many queer people like myself, changing your hair is one of the first steps to being able to decide who you want to be, instead of who you are ‘supposed’ to be. It’s become something that I continue to change as my life and identity changes. My pink hair, my long hair, my shaved head: they’ve all been part of my evolution and have aided me in letting the world know ‘this is who I am!,’ even before I was ready to fully do so.

Jenna Mast

Fox and Jane Stylist, Brooklyn, New York

“At Fox and Jane we’ve eliminated the term ‘men’s cuts’ to describe ultra short haircuts. Instead, we simply call them ‘barber cuts’ I think it’s really great that men and women can express their lengths and colors however they want without fear. We welcome all identities and love seeing people express themselves: guys getting balayage, women chopping off their length — it’s all very empowering. Being ultra feminine myself, I love seeing women feel super sexy with short hair. Having an LGBTQ friendly salon makes taking hair risks much easier and exciting!”

Yuksel Sahin

Sanat Hair Salon Founder/ Owner and Stylist, New York City

“I have female customers who go very short because they want to appear masculine. Alternatively, I have male clientele who are taking hormones and growing their hair out as they are transitioning to female. Dying your hair a bold, unnatural color — purple, blue, green — can also silently communicate to others that you are different than before or what they perceived you to be. A new haircut can also be a fresh start among strangers. One of my clients will be going away to college in the fall. He is looking forward to openly displaying his sexuality, beginning with a radically different hairstyle: a Mohawk! Whatever hairstyle and color you chose, be proud of who you are.”

Jackson Simmonds

Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa Advanced Stylist &  Brand Ambassador, New York City

“Hair is such a powerful point of gender identity for both men and women; it’s confidence, it’s sexuality, it’s self expression, and it’s our crowning glory: our number one accessory that we wear every day, our calling card that lets us say who we are before we ever open our mouths. Nutrafol has renewed my self confidence and empowered me in role as hair expert with my clients, as well as gotten me attention I wasn’t getting before (ahem)!”

Joel Warren

The Salon Project Founder, New York City

“The way you identify with your hair is as personal as the way you identify with your gender. Therefore your hair can reflect your view on your gender and can be adjusted accordingly.”

Nathan Alan

The Glossarie Hairstylist, Boston, Massachusetts

“Just because someone has good hair, does not make them feminine or masculine. Embrace who you are for you not others. Being a gay male hairstylist, I always thought that my hair was what sold me to my clients. One day my best friend told me, ‘it’s not your hair that gets you clients, it’s your personality and your talent.’”

David Klasfeld-Whitten
MANIC PANIC Marketing Manager, New York City

“I’ve been dyeing my hair since I was 14, and it’s always been tied to my gender identity as a gay male. In the ‘90s, I favored shades of blue and green, but [back then] any color that was left of center was as loud a signal as my pierced right ear. Now, I tend to favor decidedly more ‘feminine’ shades like our Cotton Candy Pink, Hot Hot Pink, or Pretty Flamingo, that are deliberately more of a contrast with the rest of my appearance. At 42, I’m more concerned with making a statement about gender identity, in general, than I am about my own.”

Patrick Ferrara

Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa Senior Stylist, New York City

“Your hair is your veil to the world. Hair is your best accessory. It defines everything about who you are now, and where you came from. It is your real name, and a mirror to your true identity.”

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