Charlie Craggsa year-old trans activist and author of To My Trans Sistersan anthology of letters by trans women, has been traveling around the UK for the last five years with a pop-up nail salon to spread trans awareness.
Popping up at museums, universities and festivals, Craggs offers free public manicures to bystanders in exchange for the chance to sit down and have a chat with a trans person. Craggs says that she realized early on in her transition that most people had never met a trans person and usually had negative misconceptions about them.
And thus, the Nail Transphobia project was born, offering people the opportunity to get a free manicure while having a chat with a trans person. It was her hope that this exchange would give people a chance to understand trans folks better. Craggs found that nails were a great catalyst for a deeper conversation, and decided she wanted to take the conversation around trans issues one step further.
In July in collaboration with Revolta creative consultancy that focuses on doing good, Craggs launched Nail Ita new nail decal brand that raises awareness and funds for specific trans issues all profits made go to Nail Transphobia. Each set of decals is designed around a trans issue, in hopes that it will spark conversation and increase trans visibility.
The first set Calling a ally for a nail decals contains images of lobsters. For the last two years, the transgender flag has been the most requested flag Calling a ally for a nail, yet instead emojis including snow sleds, cans of tomato soup and lobsters have been given priority.
However, Craggs saw some inspiration in the icon of the lobster, since the crustacean is a gynandromorph—an organism capable of having both male and female characteristics.
So until trans people get their flag, activists are hijacking the lobster as the "unofficial, official trans symbol. PAPER spoke with Craggs about her advocacy work, her new nail decal brand, and why the lobster emoji is going viral. I started Nail Transphobia as I began transitioning back inquite simply because of the amount of transphobia I was facing.
I knew transitioning wouldn't be easy, but I Calling a ally for a nail prepared for how hard it would be. I was scared to leave my house and would say a prayer before I'd go out every day in the early days of my transition, because that's how much abuse I was receiving. I remember the first time I was attacked, it was at a packed bus stop, and not a single person at that bus stop blinked an eyelid.
Nobody intervened or tried to help me, nobody asked the men to leave me alone or called the police, and nobody even asked me if I was okay or helped me after the attack. In that moment I recognized how important allies were. Nail Transphobia is all about making allies, and the goal is that people leave my salon with more than just a manicure — they leave an ally. What have been the highlights of doing this project over the past five years? How do you hope to grow it in the future?
Releasing my first book, To My Trans Sistershas definitely been my biggest highlight, partly because I feel hella fancy getting to Calling a ally for a nail myself an author but mostly because of the touching emails I get from trans girls and women all across the world saying how much it's helped them.