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Salon That Refuses to Serve Trans Clients Gets an Earful

Local pols, hair care firm slam 'breathtaking hate' by Studio 8 Hair Lab in Michigan's Traverse City
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2023 7:48 AM CDT
Salon That Refuses to Serve Trans Clients Gets an Earful
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Alex_Doubovitsky)

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that a Colorado web designer can refuse to create sites for same-sex weddings, a blow for LGBTQ+ rights. Now, just weeks after that decision, a Michigan hair salon owner is refusing to serve some members of that community, including transgender customers. In a now-scrubbed Facebook post cited by USA Today, Studio 8 Hair Lab in Traverse City announced it would no longer cater to clients who identify "as anything other than a man/woman," telling those who do so to "seek services at a local pet groomer." "You are not welcome at this salon. Period," the post, a screenshot of which can be seen on 9&10News, went on to say.

The post also references recent bipartisan legislation in Michigan signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that expands rights and protections for the LGBTQ+ community. In a follow-up comment on a local Facebook page, Christine Geiger, listed on LinkedIn as a Studio 8 co-owner, explained that she has "no issues with LGB ... it's the TQ+ that I'm not going to support," referring to transgender and queer individuals, as well as those who don't feel they fit neatly under a specific umbrella. Geiger adds that "this stance was taken to insure that clients have the best experience and I am admitting that since I am not willing to play the pronoun game or cater to requests outside of what I perceive as normal."

Per the Kansas City Star, the salon's Facebook page has also vanished, though its Instagram page, which is set to private, describes itself in its bio as a "private CONSERVATIVE business that does not cater to woke ideologies." Geiger and the salon are now facing backlash over the respective comments. "Breathtaking hate and bigotry," Democratic state Rep. Betsy Coffia says in a statement, calling the comments "dangerous," per the Detroit Free Press. "It dehumanizes fellow Michiganders at a time when violence against LGBTQ+ residents simply for who they are is already on the rise."

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Even one of the hair care lines that Geiger uses, promotes, and sells at her salon has distanced itself from Studio 8. "We want to make it clear that we disapprove of and reject hate speech in any form," the Jack Winn Pro company wrote on Instagram, adding that "the stylist who made those comments no longer has authorization to represent our brand or products." CEO Jack Winn himself also posted a video in which he expressed how his company's support for the LGBTQ+ community is "unwavering." "We're a business and we can choose who we sell to," he notes of his decision to cut Studio 8 out of the Jack Winn Pro loop. (More LGBTQ stories.)

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