April 7, 2014 5:55 pm

Transgender teen says Richmond barber shop refused service over gender

A transgender teen is speaking out today after they were left in tears following an experience at a Richmond barber shop.

Conrad Dickinson was born a girl but has identified as a boy for a couple of years. Barbara, Conrad’s mother, said transgender people do not like to be referred to as “she” or “he”, instead she said to use “they” when referring to her child.

Conrad said on Sunday they went into the Richmond Barbers salon, where they have gone in the past to have their hair cut, to get a trim.

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“This was the first time by myself,” they said. “There was quite a long line so I had to wait quite a while and when someone was free I went up and he said ‘wait a moment, we don’t cut women’s hair.’”

“I said I didn’t understand.”

Conrad said the barber told them again “This is a barber shop, we don’t cut women’s hair.”

“I was like a deer caught in headlights,” said Conrad, who ended up leaving in tears due to embarrassment about what had happened.

Barbara called the barber shop when she arrived home Sunday night and found out what happened.

“I said my child is a transgender human being and identifies as a male,” she said. “You can’t refuse to cut someone’s hair.”

Barbara said she will be making a complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal about what happened as she feels her child was discriminated against.

“It breaks my heart that my child would be treated that way,” she said. “We’re supposed to be living in a time where discrimination does not happen.”

Conrad said they have never had anything like this happen before, although they have been called names at school. “I’d like for people to maybe understand that things aren’t as great as they seem,” Conrad said.

Ken Pappas, manager of the Richmond Barbers salon, said they have refused to cut women’s hair in the past as they are a male barber shop. “Women’s hair is different,” he said.

He said they were not discriminating against Conrad at all.

“It’s not a transgender thing,” he said. “It’s not our policy at all, we do whatever we can.”

On Monday afternoon, Ken Pappas issued the following statement to Global News:

Our barber shop has been in Richmond since 1966. All of our barbers are trained to cut men’s hair.

I spoke to Ted and he told me that “on Sunday a woman approached my chair for a haircut. I politely said to her that we don’t do women’s hair here, to which she replied “I don’t understand”. I then told her that this is a mens barbershop and we are trained to cut men’s hair. I apologized once again”

I was told that the mother called the Barber Shop and spoke with one of the barbers. Its his day off today and I haven’t been able to reach him.

We’ve had many occasions where men go to a salon to get their haircut then come to us, the same day, to fix their haircut for them because they wanted it a certain way.  Barbers are trained to cut men’s hair.

I was told this person was trans gender when I received a call from the news room. When a person comes in we don’t know if they are trans gender nor does it make any difference at all to us whatsoever as this is not what this is about. The issue is that we are not trained to cut women’s hair and we have had to turn away women on many occasions who come in to us for a haircut.

I would like to sincerely apologize on behalf of myself, Ted and all of us, to this person and their family for any hardships this misunderstanding has caused.

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© Shaw Media, 2014

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