A non-binary customer called out a barber in a video after disrespecting their choice of gender.
Non-binary gender or genderqueer is an umbrella term for gender identities that are neither male nor female. Identities that are outside the gender binary.
Non-binary characteristics fall under the transgender category since non-binary people typically identify with sexual characteristics that are different from their assigned sex, though some non-binary individuals do not consider themselves transgender.
Another term for non-binary is enby, from the abbreviation “NB”.
Non-binary people may identify as having two or more genders being bigender or trigender, having no gender, moving between genders or having a fluctuating gender identity, being third gender or other-gendered.
Gabrielle “Gabi” Bartlett, 20, who was born female but doesn’t identify with any gender told Pedestrian TV that they had visited Groomsmen Barbershop in North Sydney on multiple occasions, and had never encountered a problem.
But when they visited again earlier this week, employee Aaron Lagana allegedly told Barlett they “didn’t serve women”.
“This shocked me as I frequent this barber and had no issues before,” Gabrielle said. “I said, well, I’m looking for a men’s haircut and he proceeded to say, but you’re a girl”.
After the argument, Aaron eventually cut their hair and did “a great job”, Gabi said.
On Instagram, Gabi revealed that they later reached out to Aaron, messaging him to let him know his comments were “harmful and damaging” making queer people feel uncomfortable.
“Hey Aaron, you cut my hair a few days ago and made some pretty harmful comments,” Gabi said in a video response. “First of all, I am non-binary.”
“And second of all, haircuts are not gendered,” Gabi continued. “Telling me that I am a girl and you do not cut “girls’ hair” is frankly sexist and uncalled for.”
“My hair is biologically no different than any other gender,” Gabi said. “I asked for a masculine haircut, which you do… you did a great job, I love my haircut but situations like these make queer people feel uncomfortable and afraid, it’s why most of us resort to cutting or coloring our hair in our bathrooms.”
Gabi added they hoped the barber could understand where they were coming from, and that they would be able to return to the barbershop one day.
In response, Aaron posted a series of videos to his Instagram Story in which he repeatedly misgendered Gabrielle.
“I had a girl come in – that’s right a girl, a female, a woman – come in and ask for a men’s haircut, it does not f****ng matter if you’re requesting a man’s haircut, you’re still female,” Aaron said in his now-deleted story.
“You still have female hair.If you’re a man who’s now gay, or who’s had a f****ng sex change, you’ve still got male hair. It’s still growing out of the male head. ”
“You don’t have male teeth,” Aaron said. “Bitch you have female teeth. You’re a girl. Everything you have is feminine.”
“None of this ‘oh I’m gay now, I’m a male’, nah man you’re a f****ng woman,” Aaron said. “I don’t care who you like, you’re a woman and you’ll always be a woman. You will always have woman hair.”
Aaron also messaged Gabi privately.
“[I have] more gay and lezzo friends than you do. I was good enough to cut your hair and charge you a tight ass rate and you still want to attack me for saying you have female hair. He added, “You’re a f*****ng woman man, and that has nothing to do with what private parts you chew on.”
Gabi then posted the videos to their Instagram account to demonstrate that this kind of behavior is “not okay”.
Gabi said that since posting, they received a call from the Groomsmen’s owner, explaining that Aaron’s actions were probably because they were “being lazy and don’t want to do my hair”, and that Gabi was welcome back anytime.
“As a queer person it has been a big fear of mine to be turned away from an establishment due to the way people perceive me, young women and young queer people should not have to second guess where they are welcome, we should not have to fear being ourselves,” Gabi said.
However, after posting the saved videos to Instagram, Gabi told Newshub that Aaron had reached out to apologize.
“I had a long call with Aaron in which he sincerely apologized and said he didn’t know what he was talking about and he’d like to learn more about the community,” Gabi said. “I have a lot of respect for him, he took complete responsibility without any excuses and welcomed me back to the Groomsmen anytime.”
They added they “couldn’t stress how understanding and sincere he was.”
An apology was also posted on the Groomsmen Barbershop official Facebook page.