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Local barbershops, salons create safe spaces for trans people with help from 'Strands for Trans'

For the trans community, some of these business are becoming their safe space.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Salons and barbershops are where people seek comfort and comradery while getting their hair done. For members of the trans community, some of these businesses are becoming their safe space.

“People are people,” said Johnny Lavoy.

Moda-Rey Salon in West Hartford, where Lavoy cuts hair, is part of Strands for Trans, a global organization whose goal is to create inclusive hair salons and barbershops.

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Through its website, the organization identifies trans-friendly businesses and sends them a pink, blue and white barber pole sticker to signify it as a safe space. It’s a small sticker with a big meaning.

“We’re in the business of making people feel good,” Lavoy said. “So, it’s very important to me that whoever walks through this door leaves feeling good regardless of your gender or pronoun.” 

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There are multiple beauty salons and barber shops across Connecticut that support this movement, including Jaws Barbershop, also in West Hartford. 

“It’s people that literally look for that sticker or that inclusivity where it’s like they do accept us and can walk in without fear,” said owner Anthony Williams. 

These businesses are a safe space for people to feel comfortable and for people to learn. 

“This shop is where folks are educated. We’ll see someone that’s coming in transitioning and ask them a question,” said Williams. 

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The Strands for Trans map includes more than 7,000 businesses across all 50 states.

Business owners said they're happy to make a positive impact in their community.

“Making people feel beautiful,” said Lavoy. 

“As long as you got good energy and a good person, you’re welcome at Jaws,” said Williams.

DeAndria Turner is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. She can be reached at dturner@fox61.com. 

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