, 2022-09-26 19:08:00,
Just a few months after returning to Canada after living abroad, Lindsay Petley-Ragan decided to move to Squamish.
Petley-Ragan, who self-identifies as non-binary, said they previously lived in Vancouver, which they described as Queer-friendly and liberal. When they came to Squamish and saw the rainbow crosswalk in the heart of downtown, they expected to be welcomed just the same.
In need of a haircut, Petley-Ragan entered the Chicago Hair Gallery, which is just a few steps from the crosswalk.
“I went in with very high expectations that I could probably just sit down and get my hair cut right there,” they said. “I was just shocked when he had no hesitation at all. He said, ‘No you can’t get your hair cut here.'”
After some further discussion, Petley-Ragan decided to leave.
Petley-Ragan took their business elsewhere, but was uneasy about what happened. After talks with supportive friends and seeing the Pride flag being raised at Squamish’s Municipal Hall, they decided that they should talk about what happened to them.
“When I saw the flag going up for Pride Month, I was like maybe I have a second chance here,” Petley-Ragan said.
The barber Tony Bortolotto, who also owns Chicago Hair Gallery, said he caters to men exclusively.
“I want to keep it as a barbershop, strictly as a male barbershop,” Bortolotto said, adding that he has been a barber for approximately 53 years. “This is a barbershop and I do male hair. It’s as simple as that.”
When asked if perhaps someone with short hair might deem the best person to cut for short hair, he responded, “That’s true, that’s true.” But he also said that female salons would be able to do the short hairstyle just as well as him.
Bortolotto offered to Petley-Ragan that if they could not find another place that would cut their hair, then he would cut their hair. Overall, however, Bortolotto insisted that he did not want to cut women’s hair.
“Now, what happens if I give one female a haircut and then another female and then another female? And then all of a sudden a lot of females that want a short haircut, they’re in here,” said Bortolotto. “Now, I got all these females and my customers, all male customers, have gone away. Am I going to lose those customers?”
“I had four or five females come in. And I turned them all down. I said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry. This is a male barbershop.’”
Greg Robins, the executive director of the BeautyCouncil, said that he was unsure if the salons and barbershops that…
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