LYNCHBURG, Va. – Finding a safe and comfortable place to get a haircut can be a challenge for members of the LGBTQ community.
But a salon in Lynchburg is joining an online movement to create more trans-friendly salons.
Michelle Ramsey opens her home nearly every day to help people embrace their authenticity in a trans-friendly space.
On Strands for Trans, Michelle Ramsey’s “Goddess of the Hairs” shop is one of the few salons listed in Southwest Virginia.
“We didn’t have one,” Ramsey said. “So I made it.”
Keeping judgment and rejection at the door, Ramsey said normally she is the first step when someone starts their transgender journey.
“It’s before the clothing changes,” she said. “It’s before getting on or off testosterone. It’s before starting on any kind of hormone therapy. It’s the beginning of an entirely new person.”
Every time a customer gets a chance to sit in the seat they walk away with not just a new hairdo, but a boost of confidence in a place they can call a safe haven.
After washing and styling, Ramsey turns the chair around for the anticipated reveal.
“It’s my favorite part where I get to be like ‘ta-dah,’” she said. “And they’re like ‘oh my god, it’s so great.’ It’s the best part because you get to see how they have always seen themselves but they can actually see it.”
Ramsey serves 150 clients, including Chris Voirol.
Every time Voirol asks for a short haircut, they don’t feel the need to debate or overexplain themselves to the stylist.
“There are probably a lot of places that are accepting or neutral,” they said. “But there aren’t a lot of places that are like — yes, this is a place for you.”
Whether it’s a child or an adult, Ramsey said she has one main goal in mind.
“I think it’s important for everybody to feel accepted,” she said. “That’s all that anybody wants.”
If you are interested in getting a haircut, you can reach out to Ramsey through the shop’s Facebook page to schedule consultations and appointments.