Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Chicago queer hair artists carve out safe spaces to cut and style hair
by Max Lubbers
2021-12-06

This article shared 357 times since Mon Dec 6, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


When Blue Line Barbers moved locations, Talia Roxit immediately knew which barber chair she wanted to claim: the one closest to the window.

"It's not that I want the attention, but I want to draw in people," they said. "When people pass by, they can see that I'm queer and think, 'Oh cool, I want to go there, because I'm having trouble finding a barber or a safe space.'"

Most hair spaces—whether barbershops or salons—can often have hetero and cis-normative atmospheres, they said. But across Chicago, queer hair artists like Roxit are creating a new kind of shop. Chair by chair, they're honoring the significance hair can hold in their communities and transforming the experiences of their queer clients.

One of those clients is Michelle Liad, who sits in Roxit's chair every week to get lined up. She said that she never goes into queer spaces without a fresh cut.

"Especially for masculine-presenting women, having a clean haircut is part of the package," she said. "The hair is where it's at."

Roxit said that she's proud to see a flow of queer people coming into her shop, and wishes she would have had the same option when she was younger. When Roxit went to a salon to chop off their long hair for the first time, they felt extremely uncomfortable.

"They didn't know how to ask me the right questions," Roxit said. "They didn't know what I wanted—I said short hair, and they gave me a soccer mom haircut. I was 18, and they gave me a 40-year-old straight woman's haircut that didn't fit my style."

So it's not just about welcoming queer clients, Roxit said. It's about understanding the connotations behind hair, and knowing that a pixie cut holds different implications than a bald fade.

Beyond expressing someone's sexuality or gender presentation, hair can also carry cultural meaning or serve as a creative outlet. To non-binary braider D'Nayzja Hopkins, doing people's hair feels like an act of love—and a spiritual practice.

As they braid, they weave healing and protection into people's hair, Hopkins said. It typically takes hours to finish the process, and within that period, Hopkins creates connections with their clients.

"I just want to make sure people feel safe and, like, they can talk to me," they said. "A lot of queer Black people are ostracized from our families, and it can feel really lonely. If I can be that person for someone, I want to be."

Hopkins prioritizes serving Black LGBTQ+ clients, and often gives discounted rates to people who can't afford their services. Not only does everyone have a right to feel beautiful, they said, but Black people—particularly Black women—experience discrimination if their hair doesn't meet racist standards. With this pressure to keep their hair done, Hopkins wants to break down some of the barriers to accessing services.

They said they're proud to be open and affirming with Black, queer clients, but that it's not a one-way relationship. Their clients bring them wisdom—and cool ideas—all the time, they said.

Hopkins loves to do out-of-the-box styles that traditional braiders might not try, like braid mullets. It's all about creativity, they said.

"You can go from a blank slate to an art piece," they said. "It's like the hair is a canvas and the braids are the art."

Alfredo Cruz, of Rockstar Barbershop, resonates with that concept, too—so much so that he calls himself a "hair artist" rather than a stylist or barber. He said that he doesn't do men's or women's cuts. He just does hair.

Cruz works in a shop dominated primarily by cisgender men. He chose the seat in the back in order to make sure his clients felt comfortable, he said. That way, he can angle the chair away from the rest of the shop if they ever want some privacy.

But that's never been an issue, he said. If anything, he likes to spin the chair toward the other barbers and bring them into his world.

"It's cool that they get to see what's poppin'," he said. "They're used to their regular fades, and me braiding and doing other things, I get to mix my skills into one head and then that person looks dope."

Cruz said he likes the creative projects that his queer clients bring to him. He loves to experiment with different looks—and that goes for his own hair, too.

"I like to switch it up sometimes, but never for other people. It's always for myself," he said. "They say that I don't look gay, but as soon as I start talking, they can tell. I just think that's funny, and I like to mess with their head a little bit before they know me."

There's power in choosing how he's perceived, he explained. A hairstyle can change a lot. Since hair can carry so much meaning, people need to be able to trust their hair artist, he added. When a client stands up and is ready to walk out without even seeing their hair in the mirror, Cruz knows he's done his job right.

But people can't trust a hair artist if they aren't safe or supported. Everyone deserves to feel good after—and during—a haircut or styling session, Hopkins said.

Outside their shops, there might be rules limiting people's self-expression or identities. But whether they're carving out space for queer people with a window chair or a seat in the back, Chicago queer hair artists are rejecting the status quo.

In their chairs, there are no rules—only joy.

"You don't have to look a specific way, or behave a specific way," Roxit said. "We're queer, and we're not supposed to follow the rules. We're supposed to break them."


This article shared 357 times since Mon Dec 6, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Human Rights Campaign Foundation releases new data on the LGBTQ+ wage gap
2022-01-19
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released ...


Gay News

Fashion icon Andre Leon Talley dies at 73
2022-01-19
Andre Leon Talley—the fashion icon and former creative director of Vogue magazine—died Jan. 18 at age 73. Details were not immediately revealed. In addition to his agent, Talley's Instagram account confirmed Talley's passing, noting that ...


Gay News

Skydeck Chicago announces Valentine's Day 'Love on The Ledge' contest
2022-01-05
Skydeck Chicago has announced its annual "Love on The Ledge" social media contest. The event at the Willis Tower observation deck gives adventurous couples of all backgrounds the chance to tie the knot or renew their ...


Gay News

A look at Northalsted/Boystown bars since 2020 town hall on racism
2021-12-30
Video below - Zola Chatman began her drag career in 2018 at a drag brunch at Kitchen 17, a local vegan restaurant. Chatman, a Black trans woman from Chicago, entered the drag world thinking she was joining a supportive ...


Gay News

Filmmaker B. Danielle Watkins discusses her 'Higher Spirit'
2021-12-22
Although lesbian filmmaker/screenwriter/author B. Danielle Watkins has now made two films about Christmas, she admitted she really doesn't like movies that center on the holiday. "My best friend and business partner, Onyx Keesha, loves them," Watkins ...


Gay News

Hungry Souls Collective founders talk genesis of company, other work endeavors
2021-12-22
Licensed clinical social workers Victoria Aron and Mikki Guerra have joined forces to create Hungry Souls Collective—a woman-, LGBTQIA- and minority-owned business that specializes in trauma, addiction and spirituality. According ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Gift ideas
2021-12-15
With the holidays almost upon us, here are a few items to consider: —Samsung items: Some people may just think phones and computers when they think of Samsung, but the company offers so much more. For ...


Gay News

Downstate Donuts starts Kickstarter campaign for Andersonville shop
2021-12-14
Chicago's award-winning Downstate Donuts, known for its signature line of authentic potato donuts, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to open its first retail shop in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood. Since founder ...


Gay News

Windy City Times 2021 recipient of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists Legacy Award
2021-12-08
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 9, 2021) — Today, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists announced that the Windy City Times is the 2021 recipient of the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists Legacy Award. The NLGJA: The ...


Gay News

Webber cleared of criminal charges in spring incident
2021-12-07
Criminal charges against business owner Christy Webber that arose from an alleged altercation on the West Side this past spring have been dropped. Webber, a prominent LGBTQ+ activist who also owns Christy Webber Landscapes and Christy ...


Gay News

Yoshi's Cafe to close permanently after Dec. 12
2021-12-03
Yoshi's Cafe, a Northalsted restaurant that specialized in the fusion of French and Asian cuisines for almost four decades, will close permanently after Dec. 12, The Chicago Tribune reported. "Yoshi's Cafe's last day will be Dec. 12th ...


Gay News

Recap: Mogul's holds first-ever International ERG Day
2021-11-30
Employee resource groups (ERG), affinity groups, business networking and diversity councils have helped unite likeminded tribes of people throughout the workplace for more than 30 years. ERGs are aligned with one clear focus in mind: fostering ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Designer Virgil Abloh dies at 41
2021-11-29
Designer Virgil Abloh—the first Black artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear collection and the founder of the Off-White label—died at the age of 41 after privately battling "a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma," a ...


Gay News

Designer and entrepreneur Kiki Bryant discusses future of 'Lollipop Lola'
2021-11-26
On Jan. 21, 2021, Kiki Bryant set a $2,000 fundraising goal on Kiva.org to launch a children's doll based on her original book character, Lollipop Lola. The goal was met that same day. "That was a ...


Gay News

Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce elects first Black LGBTQ president in organization's history
2021-11-24
In November, the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce elected Darien Marion-Burton to serve as the organization's first Black LGBTQ president. Marion-Burton will begin his role in January 2022 and said he's excited to bring a ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.