Barbershops as a Safe Space

It’s said that if you travel to any black neighborhood, the two places you’re sure to find is a church and a barbershop.  The barbershop is a safe place for a black man to be themselves and discuss hot topics like sports and politics.  “Shape Up: Gay in the Black Barbershop” is a documentary that explores just that: the black gay man’s experience in what is one of a few safe spaces for a black man.

The director of the documentary, Derrick L. Middleton discovered that straight men in the barbershop ofter use the terms “faggots” and “sissies.”  Derrick does not believe the terms are used only in homophobia.  The language is also used not knowing that there are gay men in the barbershop.

“Straight men will ask from a genuine place if this is a real problem, because they assume there just aren’t any gay men in their barbershop,” Derrick told Out Magazine. “That’s because most of us are hiding.”

“Shape Up: Gay in the Black Barbershop” proves that gay men want to stop hiding. Derrick would love to see the barbershop become a more progressive space and challenges them to do so. However he also praises the importance of the barbershop in black communities.

Is your barbershop LGBTQ friendly? Review the shop on Hayden’s List!

See the trailer for “Shape Up: Gay in the Black Barbershop” here.

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