For many LGBTQ+ people, hair and identity go hand in hand. Campaigns like “Strands for Trans” and a recent L’Oreal initiative have taken the charge of creating safe spaces for non-cisgendered people to get proper hair care. Now, Pantene takes the idea in a new direction, exploring how workplaces can make safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people to express themselves.
According to research cited by the haircare brand, 53% of LGBTQ+ people feel pressured to disguise their identity in the workplace. Joining the lineage of Pantene’s work in the LGBTQ+ community, the third iteration of “Hair Has No Gender Campaign” centers around a campaign film highlights the stories of queer workers—lawyers, models, carpenters, race car drivers and more—and the pride they feel when they’re free to wear their hair according to their identity.
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“I have to assume every workplace is not safe,” says Yarik, a research director, in the film. He later adds that “it’s just not possible to blossom in work if you are not your true self.”
The short film features confessional-style interviews with LGBTQ+ workers in different industries from around the globe and powerfully highlights the intersectionality of many diverse identities and the power imbalance that unwelcoming work environments produce.
“I worked for 15 years and I never came out,” says Camilla, a carpenter. “My hair was politics.”
The video also highlights the impact of visibility not just for the people highlighted, but for future generations. Joppe, a digital creative, says, “I never had someone like me to look up to” and artist, and professor Vivek Shraya notes that “being seen and respected as a trans teacher has been incredibly healing.”
The video will air on social and digital platforms throughout Canada, Spain, Greece, Italy, Belgium, U.K. and Germany. Along with the video, Pantene released educational resources on how to create an inclusive workplace, in collaboration with the video’s 12 cast members as well as advocacy groups, including Outleadership and The Dress Code Project.
“Many LGBTQIA+ workers feel they can not be themselves at the workplace,” said Heléne Graffner, communications director hair care Europe at Procter & Gamble, in a statement. “We know that hair is part of that equation, and that being able to wear the hair you want makes you feel more powerful and productive. Through this campaign we want to encourage employers to join in the work to create better workplaces for all, as we know the positive effects that will have.”