Trans Hairdresser Explains Why She Dropped Gender Pricing Lists

Melissa Hamilton at work

A trans hairdresser has dropped gender price lists to promote equality and inclusion.

Melissa Hamilton charges her clients based on need rather than gender, doing away with the concept of male and female price lists.

Women’s haircuts are traditionally much more expensive than men’s haircuts. Not only does Melissa make things a lot fairer, but she says a gender-neutral price list makes a salon more accessible to non-gender clients.

“It’s nice to know that a salon is sensitive or has some empathy towards trans people and non-binary people and that it’s a difficult situation to navigate,” she tells PinkNews. “For the LGBTQ+ community, the salon then feels like a safe place.”

Melissa, whose Melisshair salon is in East Wittering, Chichester, says many trans men have trouble going to the hairdresser.

“The anxiety and fear of going into a place and sitting between cisgender straight people without knowing if they are allies causes fear of ridicule,” she explains.

“Promoting these non-gender price lists will make it easier for people to call salons and be their true selves.”

Melissa fell in love with hairdressing at school.
Melissa fell in love with hairdressing at school. (melis hair)

Although she was initially worried about how the price change would be received in her village, Melissa says she received an “amazing reaction,” particularly from women with short hair.

“I was blown away by how many people said it made sense,” she said.

“At the dentist, you are billed for the work that needs to be done. Whatever hair grows on your head, it’s still hair, so why hasn’t the pricing structure been updated to reflect the work that needs to be done and not just based on gender?

“It seems unfair that they have to pay more to get their hair done, especially since women aren’t usually paid that much.”

Melissa is also the co-founder of Chichester Pride – the organization organizes weekly meetings and promotes LGBTQ+ inclusion in the local community throughout the year as well as organizing an annual Pride event.

She grew up in the town of West Sussex, where she came out as gay at the age of 14.

“I came out as trans at the age of 33 and that was at the salon I’m in now,” she explains.

“During lockdown I have read many articles about non-binary experiences in salons and how they are calculated by appearance based on how the stylist perceives them.

“When I came out as trans and under the Pride umbrella, I thought I needed to practice what I preach.”

“There’s still archaic pricing between men and women as it can be quicker for men to style their hair, but in my experience men these days are much more metrosexual and fastidious about their hair than women.”

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Adam Bradshaw

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