Grand Rapids LGBTQ+ owned salon practices, preaches acceptance – FOX 17 West Michigan News

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Laura Signore opened their first salon, Lilith’s Lair, in January of 2022.
Its theme is “goth-pastel.” Walking by the spot just off of Division in Grand Rapids, you’d hardly notice unless you were looking for it. Inside, though, Lilith’s Lair features the entire rainbow and art from local creators. It’s Signore’s hope to make self-proclaimed “weirdos” like them feel welcome.
“I’m probably weirder than you, so you’re good,” Singore said.
Signore started out with just two employees, including them. Now, they’re up to seven stylists. They specialize in vivid hair color, but have a spot saved for a blonding stylist, as well as a natural hair specialist.
“This is a place where you can come and just be yourself. Whatever that means,” Signore said.
Signore is a proud LGBTQ+ person. They say Lilith’s Lair fills a void in the greater Grand Rapids community.
“A lot of people who come to our salon, say they don’t feel accepted, they don’t feel validated in other stylist’s chairs,” Signore said.
Signore says that with no shade, or hate to other stylists. As a LGBTQ+ person, however, it’s important Signore created a salon that provided comfort instead of questions for people looking to get their hair done.
“There’s a lot of people that come here that say, I asked someone to give me a short haircut and they said no, because it won’t make me look pretty,” Signore said.
Clients like Gideon Gilbert know that feeling all too well.
“It’s been hard to find someone that would do what I wanted,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert is a person who is transgender. They have spent four years coming out to friends and family, but each time they attempted to have their hair done, they were met with well-intentioned, but harmful results.
“It was never a bad haircut. It just wasn’t me,” Gilbert said.
“It was not wanting the feminine cut. I wanted something more masculine, that didn’t make me look girly, and feminine, and pretty. That wasn’t what I was looking for.”
Gideon says they have no issue with people who want to learn about their journey.
“I have no problem explaining that to people who are trying to educate themselves, and trying to learn,” Gilbert said.
However, not everyone is willing to learn. That makes things like going to a salon and explaining, for example, what type of haircut they’d like to have. Gilbert recalls a conscious decision by stylists at Lilith’s Lair. As opposed to rounding out the nape of their neck, the stylist left it more square for a more masculine look.
“A lot of people don’t realize that little differences like that make a big difference, and how somebody sees themselves with that haircut,” Gilbert said.
At Lilith’s Lair, they know it’s important for hair to make you feel like yourself. Gideon explaining, having to worry in one less way about how they are perceived is a relief.
“There’s a lot of people out there that don’t want to learn. They don’t want to listen. They don’t care. Now, I don’t have to go into those details every single time. It makes it a lot easier, on not only me being myself, but also my mental well-being. Because it gets exhausting,” Gilbert said.
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