We recently came across Born, which is a “makeup and styling studio specialising in trans beauty and confidence building.” They offer a range of services, from voice therapy to make up tips, wig styling tips and more. We spoke with Paul Heaton, Director of Born, to find out more about the service.
Tell us why you started born?
Grace and I have been involved in the trans community for many years, Grace more so as she has transitioned herself and has a unique perspective on the lives of trans women. We have a vision of integrating trans women with natural born women without prejudice, creating equality through a shared sense confidence. There is some work to do before we can realise this vision, but in the meantime we can help trans women gain strength through style. This is what Born delivers through its services, seeing our clients going out into the world, being themselves in safety and with confidence.
How do you think perception of transgender people in the public eye has changed?
There is definitely a more positive perception surrounding trans people, with plenty more work still to do. The road to acceptance starts with building awareness and high-profile trans celebrities and models have helped to set an agenda recently. Born’s work is focused on ensuring this goodwill can be felt by people out of that media spotlight. It is common for trans people to hide and be secretive, mainly down to confidence and being the unfair subject of ridicule by strangers. Born seeks to change this circle of habit through confidence building and revealing the personalities of trans people, who shouldn’t fear or be feared for who they are. Fear, after all, is the root of all ridicule.
Have high profile transgender people, such as Caitlyn Jenner, helped at all?
You’d have to have lived on another planet to miss Caitlyn Jenner’s story and, although every high-profile person will have reasons to attract as much criticism as praise, we support anyone transitioning regardless of who they are. We live in a celebrity-led age, so it feels like another step towards mainstream awareness. The lives of the majority of trans women probably won’t relate to Jenner’s in reality, so it’s important that there are support mechanisms in place to ensure that people without the budget for LA stylists and surgeons get to feel capable of stepping out with their heads held high.
Your services are mostly focused on transgender women, are you planning on expanding your services to transgender men?
Our vision is to be completely inclusive. We are operating in the field of trans women at present, as this is where the teams expertise and experience lies. However, we’re actively working to expand our knowledge base to be in a position to offer the same high quality of service to trans men. Our doors are open to the best make-up artists, stylists, life-coaches and other professionals to make the Born vision complete.
What do you think you most popular service will be?
We really want to make a different to people’s lives and give them the tools to be who they want to be. With this in mind we will be equipping women with self-sufficiency in the form of make-up lessons, as well as ongoing consultancy in things like voice and confidence coaching. These are the popular services we see our clients getting the most value and longevity from. We prefer to prepare trans women, and in the future trans men, to live day-to-day as the person they are and not just look fantastic for one evening.
What do you think is the most common problem transgender people face?
A lack of acceptance. There are far too many hate crimes against this group of people and we find high suicide or contemplation rates and high unemployment figures as a result. To feel safe would be a major achievement. Trans people just want to live their lives and be happy in their own skin.
What do you think we should do to combat it?
Together we need to show the trans community in an honest light, which would simply be to demonstrate that each person is an individual. To turn negative views into positives trans people need greater visibility, altering people’s views of ‘normality’ just as the gay community has been able to achieve.