FORT WORTH, Texas — It is safe to say that almost everybody enjoys looking good on the outside and feeling good on the inside because of it. Well, for the LGBTQ+ community in some Texas cities, it can be challenging to find a hair salon or barbershop where they feel comfortable and safe changing their look or simply going in for a trim.
For Harper Robinson, that was a struggle until they found Acute Hair Salon and Barbershop in Fort Worth, which is now one of their favorite places in the city.
“My pronouns are they and them,” Robinson said in an interview with Spectrum News 1 Texas.
Acute is one of the few gender-neutral hair salons in Dallas-Fort Worth where they feel accepted while getting service that makes them feel their most authentic self.
“Every time I get a haircut, I just look at myself in the mirror afterwards and I’m like, there I am,” they said.
For them, getting a haircut or a touch up at the salon in Fort Worth’s Southside is so much more than just that.
“I used to look at pictures of myself and not recognize myself. Now, I look at pictures of myself with a haircut that makes me feel like me. I recognize myself. I’m like, oh that’s me in those pictures, and that is kinda priceless,” they added.
They appreciate it most because of bad experiences at traditional hair salons and barbershops.
“I had previous experiences of barbershops or salons and it was either choose to come out to everybody all over again…or to be misgendered the entire time,” they said.
That is a feeling all too familiar for their friend and stylist Chelsea Bonham, and that is why they decided to open up an inclusive salon for those that did not have that option in the past.
“That’s just where the industry is moving, so for me especially as a non-binary person, I felt it was important to just be inclusive and it's surprigingly not hard,” said the owner of Acute Hair Salon and Barbershop.
The goal is to make a difference for the LGBTQ+ community of North Texas by providing services like gender-affirming haircuts where pricing is only based on style and the time it takes to make it happen.
“Gender is more than just male and female and when you have pricing that’s just men's cuts or women’s cuts, it leaves out a whole population of people,” added Bonham.
People need to feel validated and safe in every stage of life, and a space where being addressed correctly comes naturally.
“Since I opened this space I’ve met so many teenagers, so many elderly folks in the community that are so happy to have a sober queer space to come to,” continued the professional hairstylist.
That is why Robinson loves the way this place makes them look and feel. The biggest hope they have is that in the near future, this place will no longer just be one of few in the area.