Yaz attending to a customer's cutYaz O’Mahoney

Haircuts are universal. But this barber is one of a kind. Yaz O’Mahoney – aka the ‘Newnham Barber’ – offers trans and queer-friendly haircuts to Cambridge students.

Yaz explained that barbers are often unwelcoming spaces to trans and queer people: “if you’re assigned female at birth and you want a men’s haircut, they’ll feminise it for you or say you can’t go to the barber.” As such, Yaz wanted to create a “safe and validating” environment, offering haircuts for queer and trans people.

They told Varsity that they make sure that no one is disappointed with their haircut. “I work with them every step of the way [...] I always do it in front of a mirror. I start long and then I take more off if they want their hair shorter.”

Yaz has really enjoyed the response they’ve received from clients. “It’s odd but it’s nice [...] it’s validating when people come to you for haircuts because you know that they’re good. For some people you can see it’s the first time they’ve ever had a haircut that they felt like they truly wanted.”

Stevie, a client of the Newnham Barber, told Varsity: “Having only come out as non-binary while at university I’d never had a gender-affirming haircut before so it was obviously really important to find the right person to do it. Since the haircut I’ve felt so confident and I love the androgyny of it, I feel so much more me.”

Yaz has always cut their own hair, and when lockdown hit, they decided to cut their hair short, and also started to cut their brother’s and dad’s hair. When they came to university, Yaz brought their hair-cutting equipment with them, and started cutting their friends’ hair at college.

Now, Yaz has an Instagram account with nearly 200 followers that promotes their hair-cutting to students from all colleges. They told Varsity that they find the attention they’ve been getting to be “funny”: “I’ve never been a particularly popular person […] I think I’m quite charismatic, but I went to a school where I was one of the only people of colour; I was one of the only queer people; I was definitely the only trans person.”


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The Newnham Barber charges £10 for haircuts and £5 to cut black/afro hair. Yaz explained: “it feels inappropriate for me as a non-black person to charge large amounts of money to cut black hair.”

As far as Yaz knows, Newnham is unaware of their business. However they explained that “it’s not an official thing, I just enjoy cutting hair. It doesn’t take up too much of my time. It’s not a real job; I don’t get paid an hourly wage, it’s just like selling clothes on depop.”

The reaction from Cambridge’s queer community has been “really cool”: “people talk and hear about you on the grapevine - I went out the other night and I was recognised nine times!”

Yaz also mentioned that they want to use their profile as the ‘Newnham Barber’ to promote life at the college: “Newnham has a reputation for being really ‘TERF’-y but that’s not the case at all [...] the student body is very trans-friendly: there’s a study going on right now of gender non-conforming students at Newnham.”