Trans teen says barber refused to cut his hair because he’s ‘not a real man’

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A barber’s shop turned away a trans teen because they insisted he was female, the teen has said.

16-year-old Sam Vella tells the Manchester Evening News that the barber shop had told him that they “weren’t sure” of his gender when he went in.

He and his mum Joanna Smith attended the Village Barbers in Clayton, Manchester on Saturday, he says.

After asking to have the sides of his hair shaved, he says he was told by staff that the barbers “didn’t cut girls’ hair”, before he said they became verbally abusive to his mum.

Vella told the Manchester Evening News: “They just kept telling me that because I wore nail polish I was a girl and then they didn’t know what I was. I felt humiliated and really embarrassed.”

Smith told the paper: “His hair is really short and he wanted the sides shaving, so it was a boy’s haircut.

“But we were told they don’t cut girl’s hair. I initially thought they thought they meant me, but then realised they meant Sam.

“He kept saying we don’t cut girls’ hair. We explained Sam is a boy but they said they weren’t sure ‘what Sam was’”.

After the exchange, Vella says he was asked to leave but that he returned later and explained that he just wanted to have his hair cut.

His mum added: “I waited outside because I didn’t want it to look like we were causing an argument but I could hear them shouting at Sam so I went back to the shop.

“They then shouted at him to leave and slammed the door in our face.”

Smith added: “What does it matter if he wears nail polish, so many other men do. And the fact is he wanted a male hair cut. He wasn’t asking for plaits. Sam is a human being and should be treated like one, it’s 2016 and people need to remember that.”

Earlier this year in the US, a barber refused to cut the hair of an out trans army veteran, saying it went against his religion.