Nackie Karcher and Madeline Jacobs, who are the Owner and Manager of local salon The Karcher (72 Greenpoint Avenue) have been talking about showing their support for women as well as the LGBTQ community for several months. “Since November and the election we’d been thinking about what can we do. We had pre-printed postcards for people to write their representatives sitting up at the desk for a while. We closed the day of the women’s march. And we’ve been thinking about ways we can use the space, for having community engagement. Being a queer-identified person myself… what can we do to make people feel accepted?” Madeline says.
Yesterday, the salon announced via its Instagram account that they would be offering Non-Gendered haircuts, stating, “We now offer a Non-Gendered Cut service option when booking on our website. We recognize that not everyone fits the commonly used gender binary service options and we want to make everyone feel welcome in our salon.” It was no coincidence that earlier in the day, President Trump tweeted, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.” On its Instagram post, the salon continued, “It’s a small action, but in light of today’s attack, we want to #resist how we can. You are welcome here. #transrightsarehumanrights”.
“Nackie and I were talking a couple weeks ago and I brought it up, having a non-gendered option. Pricing is based on the haircut you’re getting, not gender, which is a New York law. But we book as male and female cuts. But we also have a lot of female clients with really short hair, or male clients with long hair. And those even aren’t one size fits all descriptors. We haven’t gotten rid of them [male and female descriptors] yet; it’s something that we’re talking about. One small thing that we can do today is give a third option that doesn’t specify,” Madeline says.
And she notes that it’s important for the salon to speak out, because it can not only help start a dialogue in the neighborhood but send a message to visitors. “We take a little bit for granted that we are in a liberal part of Brooklyn and that everyone would think that they would be accepted, or welcomed. But we’re right by the park, and a lot of tourists are coming into the neighborhood—people are going to the Expo Center, and people are walking around. And I think just having that visibly, that this is something that matters to us as people and as a business is a helpful thing to do. Even though everyone who works across the street and next door might assume [we are LGBTQ friendly], outsiders coming in may not,” says Madeline.
Setting up the option for non-gendered cuts wasn’t purely political, and wasn’t purely a business decision either. According to Madeline, it was an emotional one rooted in consideration, love and respect for humanity. “We want to give haircuts to everybody because that helps our business. But we’re situated uniquely where we get to work with people individually and build human connections; and I think that’s different than being a coffee shop. There is something intimate about getting your hair done, and sitting with a stylist for an hour or longer. And I think that it’s more human than business. The thought of, will this turn some clients away didn’t even cross our minds.”
The Karcher | 72 Greenpoint Avenue
The salon is open Tuesday from 2pm-9pm, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am-9pm, Friday through Sunday from 10am-7pm, and closed Mondays
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