Pantene tackles issue of misgendering at hair salons

Majority of transgender and non-binary people questioned in survey said they had been misgendered during visit to salon.

PR on the Pantene campaign was led by Ketchum London
PR on the Pantene campaign was led by Ketchum London

Transgender and non-binary people could be missing out on their "dream" hairstyle as a result of misgendering at hair salons, according to shampoo brand Pantene.

The Procter & Gamble brand polled 200 people who identified as transgender or non-binary about their experiences at hair salons. The majority (93%) said they felt anxious about visiting one and were unable to achieve their "dream hair" because they had been misgendered - meaning they had been referred to as belonging to a gender with which they do not identify. 

As a result, Pantene is launching a UK campaign with Dresscode Project, an initiative that seeks to create a network of "gender-affirming salons and barber shops for LGBTQ2S+ clients" by providing education to salon staff. Dresscode Project was launched in the US in 2017 by hair stylist Kristin Rankin.

As part of the campaign, Pantene has developed a YouTube video featuring brand ambassador and transgender rights activist Paris Lees alongside Angela PonceTravis Alabanza and Lea T, who share what their hair means to them and how it fits with their sense of identity. The ad was developed by House of Radon Stockholm with PR led by Ketchum London.

In the UK, P&G said it would donate 5p from every Pantene product bought at Superdrug in-store or online between now and 3 December. It will also donate the same amount (up to £3,000) for every share of its campaign video using the hashtag #powerofhair and tagging @PanteneUK, as part of the brand's commitment to "create better hair days for everyone", P&G said.  

"Particularly as a transgender woman, my hair is such an important signifier of my identity. It makes me feel confident in myself and my femininity," Lees said. "I consider hair my weapon of choice when it comes to self-expression. The power of hair is so important to me and so many people in my community, and that’s why I’m so excited to work alongside Pantene as they support Dresscode Project."

This article first appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign

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