Updated: Aug 7
Update August 2023: The Transfriendly Website is no longer available, however, Henna Planet continues to uphold their original values and abides the Transfriendly Pledge initially set out by Transfriendly.
As the summer season begins, and I look forward to new clients, and fun parties and events where I get adorn people with my art, I thought I'd take a moment to talk about an important topic that is close to my heart. In 2016 a very close family member came out as transgender. It has been a wonderful journey for us to see this person transform into their authentic self, finally after 22 years of living as the opposite gender. It didn't take me long to refer to her by her chosen name and pronoun, because I love her, and more than anything in the world, I want her to be happy. I can help contribute to that happiness by honouring her true self, supporting her in her life, and loving her unconditionally.
When I was approached by a website called TransFriend.ly, asking me if I'd like to list my business with them, I didn't hesitate. This website connects trans and non-binary customers to businesses that are essentially Trans Friendly. Their mission, taken directly from their website, states: "To make sure that transgender and non-binary people can find and access the shops and services they need without fear, and to help businesses understand how they can become more trans friendly with training, guidance and support whilst giving back to the transgender community. We’re excited to be here, making a difference."
They also have a Pledge that all listed businesses agree to follow. There are 8 in total.
We will treat trans and non-binary customers with dignity and respect – always using their preferred name and pronouns and apologizing where we get it wrong. For online retailers, this means offering pronoun options that span beyond Mr and Mrs, and considering non-binary customers when requesting gender details.
Where we offer gendered spaces or gendered services (such as toilets, changing rooms or gendered price lists) we will always defer to the clients sense of gender identity when providing access to these services, unless we are otherwise prohibited by law. We will never ask for ID or documentation to allow trans and non-binary people to access these spaces, unless we are obliged to by law.
We will provide training and development to our customer facing colleagues to make sure they are equipped and ready to serve trans and non-binary people. We’re not perfect, but if something goes wrong we’ll listen to our trans and non-binary customers and work to resolve the issue for them as quickly as possible. We won’t tolerate transphobic behaviour by our staff.
We will make it as easy as legally possible for customers to change their name and gender. We will not add unnecessary barriers or obstructions, and where possible we will work towards making it possible to change name and gender records online or through self-service, rather than requiring a letter, a phone call or a visit to one of our locations.
We will stand up for our transgender and non-binary customers, and our commitment to the TransFriendly pledge. If another customer complains or comments about the presence of a transgender or non-binary person, we will outline our commitment to the TransFriendly pledge and work to educate our customers. We will never discriminate against a trans customer because someone asks us to.
We recognize the unique challenges that transgender and non-binary customers may face in accessing our services, and will work with our transgender and non-binary customers to make accessing our services as easy as possible. For example, we might help a transgender customer to schedule an appointment at a quieter time, if this is what they desire.
We welcome job applications from transgender and non-binary people, and will always allow them to freely express their gender identity at work. In particular, where we have a uniform or dress code, staff members may follow the policy for their gender identity, and where we require name tags, we’ll work with transgender and non-binary employee to use a name they’re comfortable with.
We welcome feedback from our transgender and non-binary customers to help us improve the services that we provide to them. Feedback can be made directly, via our customer services team (where applicable) or through reviews and comments left on the TransFriendly website.
I believe that all people should have access to henna if they want it. Henna is an art form that is practiced by a diversity of people, from different parts of the world, for a variety of purposes. Henna is a celebratory custom that is pleasurable, and fun and is meant to provide blessings to the person adorning it. It is an experience that anyone, no matter their race, religion, or gender may participate in. My philosophy is that henna connects people from all backgrounds and that the magical quality of henna body art is meant to be shared with all those who want to try this magnificent art form.
I hope that more businesses start to list themselves on the TransFriend.ly website, and start to educate themselves about how to support and validate the trans/non-binary community.
I feel honoured to list Henna Planet on this website. Fortunately Manzer Hair Studio, where I do my private henna appointments, is also listed on the website which means that we are all aligned with the same values and philosophy of good customer care.