Inspired by the discrimination she’s faced, Jess Hillis, Call Centre Advisor at Money4YourMotors is launching a brand-new business to make her mark by helping other transgender people through their transitions.
During her transition, Jess has been discriminated against by beauty salons which damaged her confidence at a time when “you’re already terrified just to go out and function”.
Jess said, "I have been in transition for six years now - and especially at the beginning - I'd go to beauty salons and feel really uncomfortable, even just approaching them - solely because I was trans. I've been to a few places that won't even treat trans people, or they'll string you along for ages and never book you in.”
Creating safe spaces
"I wanted to make sure there was a space where everyone can go and feel comfortable, especially people who are pre-surgery, who may feel dysphoria about their bodies. Being trans myself, I know the obstacles you deal with.
"I've seen many posts on Facebook from trans women asking for beautician recommendations, and their main concern is to be safe and comfortable. Some treatments are quite intimate and if you end up somewhere you feel uncomfortable, it can make dysphoria ten times worse. A friend of mine told me that she’d overheard salon staff giggling about her in another room and I can’t bear the thought of another trans woman going through that.”
Jess also hopes that she can provide advice and visibility to other trans women on their journey, something she wishes she'd had more of when she began her transition.
She said, "Looking back, if I’d seen someone who had been through transition themselves, I would have felt much better. When you start out on your transition, you're scared of everything. You're scared of going out in the street. You fear being judged. You think people are going to say things, laugh at you and point.”
Jess’ new mobile beauty business puts empathy and inclusion right at its heart and will offer treatments including waxing, brow shaping, facials and spray tanning to trans people in the privacy of their own homes in Liverpool, The Wirral and Chester.
“I would never turn anyone away and that’s the reverse of what happened to me. I’ve lived both sides of the coin and there’s empathy and comfort that I can offer.”
And Jess’ advice for others who have been in her position… “If you’re not comfortable, don’t keep going back. Find someone who will accept you,” she says. “Always be yourself and don’t take rubbish off people, you don’t need to in this day and age.”
She hopes sharing her story will inspire others to start their own businesses in support of inclusive spaces.