Kelli Wimbley-Dinh runs a barbershop in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. It’s a small space, often obscured behind the lunchtime lines for Il Corvo’s pasta.
The people who do stop to look at the metal sign above the door will notice two things: the logo of a woman with long eyelashes and a textured beard, and the slogan “everyone’s barbershop.”
Inside, there’s another bearded woman on a mural spread across the whole left wall.
Kelli’s barbershop is called Andro, like androgynous. She’s built her business as the answer to a problem her friends talk about a lot. Many barbershops are male-dominated spaces where queer folks and women can feel uncomfortable getting a haircut.
Kelli’s clients have told her all kinds of stories about previous barbershop experiences. They’ve told her about going in for a short cut and being asked if their husbands were OK with it. And they’ve told her about being hit on or made to feel unsafe. These experiences mean shops like Andro are in demand. The stories keep coming, and so do the clients.
But a space like Andro isn’t just important for Kelli’s community. The safety of her shop also has allowed Kelli to explore something about herself for the first time. Something she used to hide.
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