Transgender hairstylist campaigns for gender-neutral salon pricing

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A hairstylist is leading a campaign for people to be charged for cuts based on their hair length rather than gender.

Melissa Hamilton, 37, who has been a hairstylist for 22 years, said dentists do not charge different rates according to a customer’s gender so why should hairdressers.

“I was reading an article about a non-binary person who was anxious about going to the hair salon and not knowing how much they would be charged depending on how the stylist perceived them,” Melissa, who is transgender, told the PA news agency.

“I thought, ‘How would I deal with that?’ I thought I need to be backing what I’m living and make my service accessible for everybody.

Melissa Hamilton has been a hair stylist for 22 years (Handout/PA)
Melissa Hamilton has been a hairstylist for 22 years (Melissa Hamilton/PA)

“Dentists don’t charge you more or less because of your gender, you’re being charged because of the work being done, so why hasn’t that process gone into all industries?”

Melissa worked with Kin Connect, another hair salon based in Chichester, during their training workshops to explain the benefits of non-gendered pricing – which she says has led to “small movement towards making progress”.

Speaking during LGBT+ History Month, Melissa, who founded Chichester Pride along with friend Dawn Gracie in 2022, said there needs to be more education and awareness about the LGBT+ community in Chichester – West Sussex’s only city.

“I came out as gay at 14 and was told there would be more help and information in Brighton; then when I came out as trans at 33 I was told the same thing, why haven’t things improved?” she asked.

“For me, Chichester Pride is about educating and doing stuff throughout the year. It’s about how we can work together as a city.

“LGBT issues are spoken about in PSHE lessons but often the people leading those classes are straight. I can’t answer a question about race as a white person, so going into schools makes sure they’re getting the right information.

“Children need the right information when we’re at our most able to learn and having that information earlier isn’t to sway, there’s no ‘this is how you have sex’ or ‘it sounds like they’re trans’, it’s about asking children how they feel.

“The next generation of humans are much smarter than us and we’re only dumbing them down if we are not allowing them space to talk about how they feel.”

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