Non-binary person subjected to foul transphobic rant by barber – all because they wanted a haircut

Gabi Bartlett (left), who is non-binary, was subjected to a vile transphobic rant by barber Aaron Lagana (right)

A non-binary Sydney resident has revealed the vile transphobic abuse they were subjected to by a barber after going for a simple haircut.

Gabi Bartlett, 20, told Pedestrian TV that they had visited Groomsmen Barbershop in North Sydney on multiple occasions, and had never encountered a problem.

But when going for their most recent haircut, they were told upon arrival by barber Aaron Lagana that the salon didn’t “serve women”.

Bartlett said: “This shocked me as I frequent this barber and had no issues before.

“I said, ‘Well, I’m looking for a men’s haircut’, and he proceeded to say, ‘But you’re a girl’.”

The barber agreed to cut their hair, and while happy with the cut, Barlett decided to get in touch afterwards to explain how damaging such comments could be to them and future non-binary customers.

They sent Lagana a message online, and explained: “First of all, I am non-binary. And second of all, haircuts are not gendered.

“Telling me that I am a girl and you do not cut ‘girls’ hair’ is frankly sexist and uncalled for.

“My hair is biologically no different than any other gender. I asked for a masculine haircut, which you do… You did a great job, I love my haircut but situations like these make queer people feel uncomfortable and afraid, it’s why most of us resort to cutting or colouring our hair in our bathrooms.”


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They added they hoped the barber could understand where they were coming from, and that they would be able to return to the barbershop one day.

Instead of accepting that what he said was harmful and endeavouring to do better in the future, Lagana doubled down on his bigotry in a voice note.

He said: “Just try and give it a rest on the whole sexual orientation and gender equality accusations okay? Quite frankly I do not recall myself making any harmful comments.”

“Although,” he added, “telling you that you are a female and have female hair is completely spot on.”

But the barber didn’t stop there, and took to his Instagram stories to publicly go on a vile rant about the non-binary customer.

In the videos, which are no longer available, he said: “I had a girl come in – that’s right a girl, a female, a woman – come in and ask for a men’s haircut.

“It does not f**king matter if you’re requesting a man’s haircut, you’re still female. You still have female hair.

“If you’re a man who’s now gay, or whose had a f**king sex change, you’ve still got male hair. It’s still growing out of the male head.”


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Bartlett told Pedestrian TV that they later received a call from the owner of the barbershop, who insisted Lagana was probably “being lazy” and didn’t want to do their hair.

They added that they had spoken out about the experience to show that the transphobic behaviour was “not okay”.

“As a queer person it has been a big fear of mine to be turned away from an establishment due to the way people perceive me,” Barlett said.

“Young women and young queer people should not have to second guess where they are welcome, we should not have to fear being ourselves.”