It’s an unpleasant reality that all identities aren’t always welcome in venues that service basic necessities. As global sentiment around the acceptance of transgender people varies drastically, initiatives to create safe spaces for the vulnerable population is as crucial as ever. A past campaign from agency Terri & Sandy mapped barbershops that welcomed trans clientele. Now, L’Oreal Professional Products has teamed with agency Sajo//McCann to open Transformation, a chain of hair salons in Puerto Rico staffed to cater to the needs of trans men and women.
The ten locations across the island have trained stylists that specialize in creating a comfortable environment for those transitioning into their gender identity and have the know-how to provide guidance on achieving their desired appearance. The initiative was created with the support of local LGBTQ+ organization True Self Foundation and L’Oreal brands like NYX Professional Makeup, Redken and Kérastase.
“We focus on an insight that is the first manifestation of gender expression for someone who is transitioning: hair is very important in the transformation of a trans person,” said Víctor Cabezas, partner and senior VP creative director of Sajo//McCann, in a statement. “It is not as easy as leaving it long or short, because it requires a more complete process. This is how we want to continue building a meaningful brand platform for L'Oréal Professional Products and strengthen the self-esteem and self-determination behind 'Because I'm worth it' and face discrimination."
A companion documentary shows trans clients at the shop. They speak to the importance hair plays in their journey to self realization. “For me, my hair means everything,” says Mila, a trans woman in the video. “For me, it means my femininity. It means that I’m connected with myself.”
Throughout the video, Mila and other trans participants are shown having their hair washed, cut and colored, resulting in touching moments of excitement, joy and confidence. As part of the campaign, L’Oreal Caribe will donate a $15,000 scholarship to the True Self Foundation for cosmetology schools in Puerto Rico.