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Des Moines celebrates Transgender Day of Visibility

Some local salons offered free hair cuts, and the community gathered at Drake Park to celebrate Friday.

DES MOINES, Iowa — On Transgender Day of Visibility, Elevencherry Salon in downtown Des Moines is just one of several salons in the Des Moines area providing free hair services to trans and nonbinary students. 

Its all part of the "I Am Me" initiative, organized by a group of hairstylists and barbers throughout the area. Students were able to come into any participating salon and ask for a free appointment. 

The idea? Creating a safe and affirming space to uplift trans and nonbinary youth. Lindsey Mollenhauer, owner of Elevencherry, said she's proud so many salons came together to show support.

"Identity and gender are very much tied to hair and we thought it was cool that other salons wanted to participate in this way to offer something really special for a community that's been discriminated against recently," Mollenhauer said.

Mollenhauer said she hopes to bring back the "I Am Me" initiative next year if there's enough interest.

Meanwhile, at Drake Park, the city of Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission's LGTBQ Advisory Council hosted the Transgender Day of Visibility Friday. 

The event celebrated and uplifted transgender and gender nonconforming members of the community.

"We gathered here together, the venue was packed full of people in the trans non binary and gender non conforming communities as well as for our allies. And we are sharing testimony, as well as for coming out stories and ways that we can get involved in local advocacy," said volunteer Sarah Parker. 

While today's event focused on community building, local activists also spoke about the work they've done, saying the commission expects to hold more events later in the year.


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