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 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
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 3980 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 3980 times since Mon Dec 6, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

News is Out, Word In Black, Comcast NBCUniversal welcomes 16 Journalism Fellows to cover Black, LGBTQ+ communities
2024-04-16
Philadelphia (April 15, 2024) — Today, News is Out and Word In Black, together announced the 16 fellows selected for The Digital Equity Local Voices Lab, a new initiative powered by Comcast NBCUniversal to place journalists ...


Gay News

First Queer and BIPOC-owned Illinois cannabis company opens Northalsted dispensary
2024-04-12
A small group gathered April 12 at 3340 N. Halsted St. to celebrate the grand opening of a historic new Northalsted business. SWAY, Illinois' first queer and BIPOC-owned cannabis company, marked the opening of its dispensary ...


Gay News

Women & Children First marks its 45th anniversary
2024-04-11
By Tatiana Walk-Morris - It has been about 45 years since Ann Christophersen and Linda Bubon co-founded the Women & Children First bookstore in 1979. In its early days, the two were earning their English degrees at the University of ...


Gay News

Big Gay Sal's, pizzeria named after owner's larger-than-life presence, opens in Northalsted
2024-04-10
Salvador Mora has always been known for his cheerful smile, warm hugs and big heart, but now it's his pizza that has people talking. Mora co-owns Big Gay Sal's, a late-night pizzeria that opened in March ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame seeks nominations for 2024 induction
2024-04-09
--From a press release - The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame has announced a call for nominations for the 2024 class of inductees into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. Those wishing to may nominate individuals, organizations, businesses, or "Friends of ...


Gay News

First of LGBTQ+-owned dispensaries set to open in Northalsted
2024-04-01
By Tatiana Walk-Morris - Since 1970, 3340 N Halsted St. had been the home of the Townhall Pub, the beloved cash-only dive bar known for its tasty drinks and friendly staff. But after Townhall's former owner William Bucholtz passed away ...


Gay News

WORLD Israel court, conversion therapy, death sentences, Georgia bill, fashion items
2024-03-29
Israel's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Population Authority must register female couples as mothers on the birth certificates of their children they have together, The Washington Blade reported. The decision was made following a petition ...


Gay News

City Lit Executive Artistic Director Brian Pastor talks theater, comics, queerness
2024-03-26
City Lit Theater has announced its programming for the 2024-25 season—which will be the company's 44th. It will also be the first season to be programmed under the leadership of Brian Pastor (they/them), who will assume ...


Gay News

Brown Elephant returns to Northalsted
2024-03-26
Brown Elephant's Lake View location is moving to Northalsted and already accepting donations. Howard Brown Health, the largest LGBTQ+ health center in the midwest, operates three Brown Elephant resale shops in the Chicagoland area to help ...


Gay News

Center on Halsted's signature Human First Gala to return
2024-03-11
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Center on Halsted's signature Human First Gala will be held on Saturday, April 20 at The Geraghty. The gala brings together LGBTQ+ community members and allies for an evening of celebration to recognize ...


Gay News

SAVOR At Willies 'n Waffles, sexuality is on the menu
2024-02-12
Having written about Chicago's culinary scene for at least 15 years, this writer has covered all sorts of spots—from Michelin-starred upscale establishments to those so-called "holes in the wall" that can serve some of the best ...


Gay News

Chicagoans indulge in a World of Chocolate
2024-02-11
AIDS Foundation of Chicago hosted its 2024 World of Chocolate celebration the evening of Feb. 9 at Union Station. Top chocolatiers from across the city allowed guests to sample numerous confections, hors d'oevres and libations for ...


Gay News

TAWANI Foundation commits $25K to StartOut, supporting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship
2024-02-08
--From a press release - CHICAGO — February 8, 2024 — The TAWANI Foundation, a 501(c)(3) that provides support in the areas of arts and culture, historical preservation, health and wellness, LGBTQ+ and human rights ...


Gay News

The Jeff Awards announces the 50th-anniversary non-Equity theater nominations
2024-02-06
--From a press release - (Feb. 6, 2024 - Chicago) — Celebrating its 50th anniversary awarding recognition for Non-Equity theater, the Joseph Jefferson Awards announces its nominations for theater excellence among Non-Equity theater during the ...


Gay News

Comcast NBCUniversal partners with News is Out, Word In Black on fellowship program highlighting Black, LGBTQ+ issues
2024-02-06
--From a press release - Digital Equity Local Voices Lab Fellows to be placed at 16 local publications to receive training and create content Philadelphia (Feb. 6, 2024) — News is Out [ https://newsisout.com ] , a queer media collaborative of ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

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 Transgender 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
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     
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.