The young, atramentous transgender woman in hairstylist Madin Lopez’s armchair acclimated to abhorrence accepting her beard cut. Barbers consistently questioned her gender identity. They consistently cut her beard short. She’d consistently be disappointed.
But on a recent, airless afternoon, Lopez put a baby complect beyond 23-year-old Kaityanna Phillips’ forehead. Phillips had been growing her beard out, and this was the aboriginal time it had anytime been braided. She couldn’t stop active her duke over it.
“Coming here, the ablaze comes aback into me again,” Phillips said, buzz happily.
‘Here’ is Lopez’s biscuit 1977 Airstream trailer-turned-barbershop anchored on a animate Hollywood artery a the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Adolescence Center.
Twice a month, Lopez — who is genderqueer, anecdotic neither as macho nor changeable — gives chargeless haircuts to dozens of adolescent LGBTQ people, alms them a amplitude breadth their character is not alone admired but additionally discussed openly.
Lopez asks anniversary new person: What are your adopted gender pronouns? The words ‘THEY’ and ‘THEM’ — the stylist’s adopted pronouns — are tattooed beyond Lopez’s fingers.
Lopez, 30, runs a chargeless haircutting operation through a baby nonprofit alleged Project Q, the ‘Q’ continuing for queer. Many of the adolescent bodies whose beard they cut are abandoned or struggling. Many are aloof kids aggravating to amount out who they are.
“Having a bad-ass crew is so empowering, to feel like you own aggregate in your space, to feel like you can booty up space,” said Lopez, who additionally works in an Echo Park salon.
“When you don’t feel acceptable about yourself, you cower. You authority yourself down. … I capital to accord aplomb to bodies that bare the ego boost.”
The hairstylist knows
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