This queer hairdresser is changing the lives of LGBT people

Meka Beresford May 5, 2017
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A queer hairdresser from Brooklyn has transformed a traditional barbershop into a safe space for LGBT people.

Dez Marshall, a barber at the Gamesman in Brooklyn, is working to create a welcoming place for everybody to get their hair cut.

The shop, which has been deemed an “institution” has been open for over 50 years and typically attracts a clientele base of lawyers, judges and business men.

However, Marshall is “throwing a wrench” into the norm and beginning to make the shop a more open place where others can visit.

“I mix it up a little bit,” Marshall explained to Great Big Story.

“My clientele is mostly queer, trans, gender non-conforming, folks of colour, non-folks of colour.”

The barber explained that she likes to think her work is helping to create connections between LGBT people and old traditional institutions like the Gamesman, which has been run by its owner Frank for decades.

“I think I’m building a bridge in different ways. For queer folks, for trans folks, for gender nonconforming folks.

“Hair is very important. You need a barber that you feel comfortable to talk to about how you want to look, what’s the vision that you have, someone who can execute it but also do it in a way that they’re not gonna be judging you throughout the whole process,” Marshall said.

For her, she is changing the history of a space that queer folks might not have had such easy access to in the past.

She added: I get to spend my day with other queer folks in a space that 20 years ago we probably couldn’t have even walked into. I’m part of that story now.

“My clients are a part of that story now. We’re part of the history of this place. We’re a part of it’s legacy and that’s really cool.”

Some of Marshall’s customers explained that some hairdressers can “feel like a boys club”, and that it is “nice to feel like you can let your hair down or just cut it off.”

More: Brooklyn, hairdresser, LGBT, NYC, Queer, US

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