DENVER PRIDE AT ZANDI K!
At Zandi K Salons, we work everyday to ensure that our business is all about inclusion. Our love for every type of person is at the heart of every decision we make and everything we do. This year, Zandi K is participating in the Denver Pride Parade! We’re so excited to march for what we believe in and in honor of the upcoming Denver Pride parade, we asked our amazingly talented esthetician who many of you know, Panda, to spend some time thinking about what participating in this years pride parade as a company meant to her *cue tears and make sure you’ve got the tissues handy*
One of my favorite times of year in Denver is the weekend of Pride. As Rainbow flags start to dot the landscape it is made abundantly clear from houses to businesses where our allies reside. Of course, there are those local establishments which fly their flags 365 days a year. Places I know I can enjoy a drink, grab dinner, roller skate, and dance all while Ru Paul’s Drag Race plays on repeat, or the raucous humor of drag queen bingo entertains my friends and I. In June seeing all the extra flags go up means so much more. It means I am welcome. I can feel comfortable being who I am, with whom I love. Holding hands with my partner won’t be met with awkward glances. Luckily that is all I ever seem to receive in Denver, if any discrimination. I won’t be arrested for congregating with fellow gays, I won’t be imprisoned for kissing a female, and I won’t be put to death for exchanging vows with another woman. I can have a job and not be fired for sharing with my clientele that I, as a woman, have a wife. I am lucky to live in Denver; a city where most individuals don’t even seem to bat an eye at same sex couples. A city that has become so inclusive that the 3 year old trans boy in my neighborhood comes up and inquires (seeing me with my wife), “are you her husband?” I am floored by this little one’s complete innocence and clear understanding of what couples look like! The word husband, doesn’t hold any gender association, so I respond, “Yes I am!” with a little giggle and grin on my face.
I do recognize I live in a cozy little bubble in Denver. Travel is a passion of mine, so every year Netia and I take off to see a different corner of the world. However, one major thing we have to do when traveling is look up each country’s LGBT laws. “Are we okay to be gay here?” is the question we are continually asking ourselves. Zambia: nope. Book separate beds in a dorm. “We’re just friends!” India: eh, not the most comfortable social exchanges if they figure out you’re gay. With the approach of the don’t ask don’t tell motto, we book private rooms with one bed but don’t dare show affection outside of that room. (In India it is not totally uncommon to share beds as friends or family.) Dubai: certainly not. Separate beds, “we’re sisters!” West Virginia: she constantly slaps my hand away from me trying to hold it; after all this is the South. Brazil: “isn’t everyone a little gay here?” San Francisco: gay pride mecca! Finally places where we can be ourselves! My intention is not to hate on any town or country. After all, I do choose to travel to places where I, as a queer individual, am not welcome. Since being bisexual does not make up my entire identity, I just have to stifle the gay and push it way deep down inside of me while traveling in these less than queer friendly places. It is such a relief to travel to a place where I can put my head on my wife’s shoulder, or give her a peck on the cheek at a crosswalk while waiting to cross the street. And thank goodness there are places out there like Denver where we can comfortably reside.
My memory of my 3 year old neighbor makes me hopeful. Our youth are increasingly open minded as the years go by, and our local businesses are progressively supportive of the gay community, as this year marks Denver’s biggest pride parade yet. Zandi K is now joining in on the celebrations for the first time! I am proud to work for a company that is so supportive of me and my queer community. In all my years of attendance at pride, I’ve never noticed a salon or spa participate. This seems so bizarre to me because the beauty industry I know is incredibly populated with LGBTQ individuals and allies. We will be there because the ZK team has always been there making the gay community feel and look beautiful. We are an inclusive salon accepting of everyone who can show some compassion and acceptance of the diversity within our world today. Come help us support and recognize that love is love! Happy pride and see you on Sunday!