City’s first salon run by transgender persons at Prabhadevi hopes to create equitable livelihood and level employment field
The TransFormation Salon will have about six to eight employees, and an upper deck, “which works as a safe space for the community”. Pic/Shadab Khan
Change is the name of the game, and it was happening at Prabhadevi. The TransFormation Salon has become the city’s first salon to be run by transgender persons. This unisex salon, offering all beauty services, is now open for clients. Representatives from Deutsche Bank and Rotary Club of Bombay, who have partnered to create this equitable livelihood avenue were at the peppy, exciting inauguration on Saturday morning.
Vineet Bhatnagar, president Rotary Club of Bombay said, “While inclusion is important, we put professionalism above all. We are going to have top-notch trained personnel at the salon because in the end, it will be quality of services that speaks.” “We look at projects where we have our staff involvement, like this initiative. We also employ sexual minorities and persons with disability in our branches. We do not just ‘assuage’ guilt by writing a cheque,” said Kaushik Shaparia, CEO, Deutsche Bank Group India.
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Stylist ‘Omi’ who identified as a lesbian, brought 15 years of salon experience to this outpost. She said, “People will take some time to understand us. Outwardly, this may seem humble but make no mistake, given the big leap we are making in history today. There may be some reservations initially, but people will realise that the community has talented, skilled persons.”
Those present pointed repeatedly to the first transgender run café in Andheri West called The Trans Café, “which is doing well.” Mohini who identified as transwoman, said, “I worked in management at the Cafe, and now will work in the management team here. The younger generation has a different, more aware mindset but that does not mean we have not gone through hardships every step of our journey.”
An aspiring stylist, training in makeup is Mahi Malini Pujari. Mahi also worked at the Andheri Café, but said, “I was always inclined towards beauty and am now training here,” she stated. “I was different since I was a child. I did not like to wear typical boy shirts and shorts as told to. I always preferred ‘langadi’ to cricket! My body was male but my soul was female,” she stated.
The TransFormation Salon will have about six to eight employees, and an upper deck, “which works as a safe space for the community,” representatives said. Inclusion means giving the marginalised, mocked at and misunderstood, a life of dignity. While that sounds uplifting, it will be challenging given the intimate space and nature of work, that is the hallmark of salon services.