"The goal is for all to be able look up at themselves in that mirror and smile. I want the only salon experience they have is a positive one, so that they too can leave feeling like a million bucks."
By
Michaela Morgan

26 May 2017 - 12:53 PM  UPDATED 26 May 2017 - 12:58 PM

A hairdressing studio in Toronto has created a trans-inclusive intiative that offers free styling to young transgender clients.

Kristin Rankin is the co-owner of Fuss Hair in Leslieville and founder of The Dress Code Project—an online directory where LGBT+ friendly salons can register their services. 

Rankin says that for the transgender community, something as simple as a haircut can be a demoralising experience.

"I know of a lot of instances where they don't even get serviced," Rankin told CBC News.

"Or if they do get serviced, they feel terrible about the service. We don't want them to have that experience coming into our salons."

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"The fight to end discrimination is not over and a lot of hard work still needs to be done. Canadians know our country is made stronger because of our diversity, not in spite of it.”

Liz Courtemanche is 16-years old and came out as transgender last year and is now a client at Fuss Hair.

"Throughout most of my life, there has been a disconnect between how I feel and how I appear," Courtemanche said.

"I've never looked how I felt. And so now that I'm closer to it, it's just overwhelming and, like, very... it's a good feeling."

Client Wesley Welch says the service can be “life-changing” for transgender youth.

“For trans masculine youth, long hair can be a reminder of the gender binary that has been forced on them and it can be so freeing to finally get that cut off. I remember it was for me.

“I felt I was expressing myself in an authentic way.

“This kind of veneer was pulled off and I was able to show who I wanted to express.”

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“When I think about members of the transgender community that I know, I know this means a lot to them.”

Rankin provides diversity training to hairdressers who want to be part of the Dress Code Project and has started a crowdfunding page to help expand the program.

“My hope is that this network will expand so it reaches as far as it can,” says Rankin.  

"We can provide amazing experiences for this community within our salon network around the world.

"The goal is for all to be able look up at themselves in that mirror and smile. I want the only salon experience they have is a positive one, so that they too can leave feeling like a million bucks."