Transgender Latina Women to Launch Worker-Owned Beauty Business

On Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced an executive order introducing statewide legislation that would ban harassment and discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, in both the public and private spheres. The move comes months after the New York Senate failed to pass the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act (GENDA) despite multiple attempts since 2003.

Workplace problems are familiar to the co-op members, who all belong to PRYDE, Make the Road’s LGBTQ support group. They were inspired to form their own business after learning of a similar venture run by transgender activists from Argentina.

“The girls got immediately excited by the idea of creating a business where they would be the sole owners, where there wouldn’t be any bosses verbally and physically harassing them, and where they could earn a dignified wage to survive,” said Daniel Puerto, worker cooperative developer at Make the Road New York, the nonprofit incubating the co-op.

The women are considering several business models. Some are more traditional, such as opening a salon or renting chairs in an existing establishment. More innovative options include running a mobile salon or offering on-site spa services to city office workers.

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