Hair Matters — Feeling and Presenting an Evolving Gender Identity

It’s much more than, simply, a cosmetic concern. Transitioning with help from a true pro — and ally — stylist Fabian Zuniga.

Transgender Hair image 1

Right or wrong, there are longstanding social norms ingrained in our society related to gender. A transgender person may experience moments of pause as they encounter new people in the daily course of life, (in part) because of these standards, as they progress through their transition. This has to be an accepted part of the journey.

One can argue, then, that how a transgender person wears their hair — cuts, styles, grows, etc. — is an important thing to consider. It’s certainly more than just a cosmetic concern. Negotiating one’s physical appearance can be a key part in the development of one’s own gender identity. Similarly, how one “presents” themselves is important to how one interacts with the general population and vice versa. And, it’s a matter that one can exert some level of control over. Decisions about hair are especially important for males transitioning to/towards female.

Enter hair stylist Fabian Zuniga. Currently working from Ross Lujan Studio in West Hollywood, Fabian has worked with trans* clients for more than 15 years. Clients rave about the level of service and care — and most importantly, the level of comfort they feel in his presence. According to “A,” (Fabian’s client in the photos) he “possesses not only all of the qualities of a perfect hair stylist, but also the qualities that define what it means to be a real trans ally. Hair DOES matter…especially for those of us who are trans or gender non-conforming.”

Before A started transitioning, she felt she was stuck in a horrible cycle of denial over most of her thoughts and feelings. “Hair was definitely an aspect of my ‘self-care’ and expression that I either completely ignored or outright sabotaged, as one of the many consequences of that denial.”

She continues, “Part of the unique struggle for transgender individuals, particularly those of us who transition as adults, is learning how to find and truly recognize your own image after losing or even deliberately disconnecting from yourself. Hair is an important, often times tricky thing to define in this process, and Fabian’s personality, reassurance, and ability to connect with his clients makes him an essential resource for anyone in the trans community beginning their transition or simply seeking a new look. I am extremely fortunate and grateful to have been put in touch with Fabian.”

Fabian says that his transgender clients are typically shy in their interaction with him. Understandably, males transitioning towards female are not used to caring for their hair in the way that many cisgender women do. If you’re embarking on the journey that is a gender transition, give Fabian a call — before you make an appointment. Share with him where you’re at mentally, emotionally, and otherwise in your transition, especially about issues related to your evolving physical appearance. Fabian once worked as a makeup artist, so he could even talk you through a more holistic approach towards your neck-up presentation and help you make a plan.

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**Fabian can be reached directly via email or telephone: (213) 550-8504