FALL RIVER: Hairstylist Abby Lavoie wants their community to know how inclusive their place of work is.
Lavoie is a stylist at Riverbed Wellness Spa & Salon and wants everyone to know Fall River is a safe space.
Abby, who’s pronouns are They/Them, has painted a Pride flag mural on a large window at Riverbed facing the community’s main intersection.
With June being Pride Month it was equally important for Lavoie to adorn the room at Riverbed with the flag, which includes all of the colors to represent their LGBTQ+ community.
“I want to be able show people that it’s an inclusive space because there are a lot of places that treat you the way that they see you. I want my guests to know I will listen to them and what they want,” said They. “My goal with every new guest is to make them feel the most comfortable with who they are by delivering a cut, color, or style they have asked for. I want every person leaving my chair to feel beautiful and confident.
“What I really want to do is be open to let anyone come into our salon. I want them to leave feeling comfortable with themselves, maybe more than they were when they came in.”
How did the idea to paint the flag on the window come about?
“Since I started here, Stephanie Brown (owner of Riverbed) made me write out a list of goals that I wanted to achieve,” They said. “The big goal I wanted to achieve was a safe space for everyone. So I thought maybe this would be perfect because I haven’t seen any prides flag in Fall River my whole life.”
Abby said she feels comfortable in not being quiet about her queerness.
“I just want to help queer youth see that there are safe places for them, that they’re not alone, just having the space, it’s just perfect,” said Abby.
When applying for a job at Riverbed Wellness Spa & Salon, They admitted to being nervous because they thought it was a high-end salon.
“I thought they’d kind of expect me to dress feminine,” said Abby.
Working at a place that understands is amazing,
“At my old job I was not treated the same way,” They said. “I was seen as female, only female, and didn’t identify as it either.
“It’s nice to kind of be in an inclusive space where they understand me, and they help me grow instead of holding me back. My colleague Rhea Long even hand painted beautiful signs to remove gender from our single person washrooms. And I’m so proud to have created our community’s first large scale installation”
Abby hopes that people will feel comfortable knowing they can be who they are and won’t be judged at Riverbed or in their hometown of Fall River.
“I hope it shows that there’s more queer people here than you think, and that it’s OK to be open,” added They. “You can be yourself when you come in here, you don’t have to hide anything and we will respect you, whoever you are, inside and out, we will treat you with respect.”
Come on in and give Them your support during the month of June.