Gender identity language lesson | Offer the best service to your clients

March 17, 2022

Get to grips with language surrounding gender identity issues so that you can offer the best possible service to every single one of your salon clients.

Hair Has No Gender is a campaign dedicated to educating the hair, beauty and barbering communities on gender identity issues and working to ensure people can always find safe spaces in our wonderful industry. We recently had a lesson on Trans Awareness from founder Keri Blue in which they discussed diversity, equality, inclusion and the benefits of gender-neutrality in salons. As the language surrounding the subject is constantly evolving, we know this can be a confusing topic for some who want to get it right but aren’t sure how, so we thought we’d share with you some of our notes on language you should (and shouldn’t) use with your LGBTQIA+ clients to get you on track.

Commonly Used Terminology
Trans – Different birth sex to gender identity
Cis/Cisgender – Same birth sex as gender identity
Misgendering – Incorrectly assuming someone’s gender identity or using incorrect pronouns.


Subjective – She, He, They, Ze
Objective – Her, Him, Them, Zir (NEOPRONOUNS)



Phrase Guide
Incorrect Term

Biological or ‘normal’
Unisex salon
Old name
Trans Client
Sex Change
Born a man/woman

Correct Term

Cis man/woman
Gender-neutral salon
Dead name
Person who is Trans
Transition/Gender-Affirming healthcare
Assigned/presumed male/female at birth

Big No-Nos

✖ Dead naming – Referring to a Trans or Non-Binary person by the name they used before transitioning, such as their birth name.

✖ Misgendering – Incorrectly assuming someone’s gender identity or using incorrect pronouns.

✖ Cissexism – showing or feeling discrimination or prejudice against transgender people.

✖ Outing people.

✖ Asking questions such as “What are you REALLY?”, “What bits have you got?”, “What did you look like before?”

Gender-Neutrality in your salon

As our notes show, language can be discriminative, even if you don’t mean it that way. Using the correct language in conversation can go a long way in making a client feel safe and respected, but have you thought about how your salon comes across in its marketing? Potential clients see you through your marketing, and representation is everything.

Hair Has No Gender has some follow up suggestions you may want to consider introducing to your salon…

1-  Add an equality, diversity and inclusivity statement to your website and other public platforms your business uses such as LinkedIn which states that you are welcoming of all LGBTQIA+ and highlight gender equality. You can find examples online.

2- Audit your consultation, contact and application forms. Here are some pointers:

– Check the information you request is actually necessary.
– Check if you ask for titles you include Mx. for those who don’t use Mr. or Ms.
– Add a box for pronouns, either a blank one or select from the options he/ his/him, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs, but remember some people use neopronouns so perhaps again the option to add their own would be advisable.
– If you need to ask somebody about their gender, give them the option to self-identify rather than select.

3- Check your marketing and socials – would everyone feel welcome?

4- De-gender your services if you need to and check your professional copy for gender and remove if it is not needed. This could be a treatment list in a salon, or the toilets at work.

5- Add pronouns to your correspondence, and socials, email footer, name badges.

6- Reach out. Check out your local LBGTQIA+ community. You could offer services to disadvantaged trans teens or do some volunteering.

Find out more about the Hair Has No Gender campaign, get in touch and book training courses for you and your team at: