Tackling transphobia through manicures and the power of conversation.
Charlie Craggs is a campaigner and public speaker working to reduce transphobia by offering members of the public a free manicure and the chance to talk freely and openly about trans issues.
In 2013, when Charlie started the process of medically transitioning, everyday activities she’d previously taken for granted, such as using public toilets or accessing health services, became more difficult. She realised there was much work to be done in educating people about experiences within the trans community.
“Go back a few short years and there was very little positive dialogue around trans issues,” she says. “Prejudice comes from misunderstanding, and most of the discussion in the media at that point was very exploitative and highly sensationalised. Talking is something I’m good at so I wanted to start a conversation, and humanise trans issues.”
Charlie travels around the UK with a pop-up nail salon and sets up in public venues such as the V&A, Science Museum and Somerset House. “I sit down with people and answer any questions they have. They go away with a manicure and new perspective.”
Charlie is now looking at ways to grow the Nail Transphobia network by recruiting additional manicurists. She’s also keen to address another big issue for the trans community - the prevalence of verbal and physical abuse. By selling nail art via her website, Charlie hopes to fund a series of self-defence classes for members of the trans and non-binary community.