Sephora Announces Makeup Classes for Transgender and Non-Binary People

Beauty retailer Sephora announced in-store beauty classes targeted toward transgender and non-binary people†in their Classes for Confidence series, which offers complimentary makeup classes for people experiencing major life changes.

The 90-minute Bold Beauty for the Transgender Community classes were developed by transgender Sephora staff and will be hosted by “trans-sensitive instructors.”†Topics were suggested by members of the transgender community.

They’ll hold classes at 150 Sephora locations across the United States, with the goal of empowering transgender and non-binary people through makeup.

“This is the third curriculum weíve rolled out, and we couldnít be more excited,” Corrie Conrad, Head of Social Impact and Sustainability at Sephora, told them. “Itís been two years in the making. Itís one of the initial programs we wanted to design, but we wanted to make sure we did it right. We held focus groups and worked with our employees experiencing their own gender journeys to help determine class content, sensitivity training procedures, and to help figure out which stores would make the most sense. The trans and non-binary community is a beloved part of our community and we want to be allies. Thatís the point of all our programming: Whether youíre entering the workforce or questioning your gender, thatís a major life transition. We want to be there for you.”

Other classes in the curriculum include beauty in the face of cancer and workplace re-entry. While the classes take place at Sephora locations, Sephora will also offer a series of tutorials on YouTube.

Since Sephora started offering classes a few years ago, they’ve held more than 850 and had more than 8,500 participants. According to Sephora, more than 80 percent of participants reported increased confidence.

Truthfully, I donít know how to feel about programs like this. Is it a step forward that major companies are recognizing and even celebrating transgender and non-binary people? I think so. And I want to be excited every time companies take a step in the right direction and become more inclusive.

But at the end of the day, what Sephora wants is to sell more products, whether thatís through the positive attention of such campaigns or by targeting trans and non-binary consumers.

I want to feel good about companies doing good things, but I wonder if such campaigns are the equivalent of feminist underwearóa product which markets itself as feminist but in reality promotes capitalism and not gender equality.

I asked myself similar questions when Lush ran their #TransRightsAreHumanRights†campaign in which they donated 100 percent of sales from their Inner Truth Bath Melt to transgender rights groups.

Bath bombs arenít going to change the world, surely, but the money generated from selling them? That could make a difference. Plus, Lush distributed 75,000 ďHow to Be an AllyĒ pocket manuals in their North American stores. That seems like an objectively good thing.

“We hope our campaign will spark conversations and educate all of us how to become better allies to the transgender and non-binary community,” Lush said in a statement. “It is up to all of us to raise awareness on the discriminations and dangers transgender people, including our employees, face every day.”

Can a company whose inherent goal is to sell products also be doing genuine good for marginalized communities?

Further complicating the progressive perception of both beauty companies are the allegations of racism both have faced in the recent past.

In 2014, four women filed a class-action lawsuit against Sephora for racially profiling women with Asian-sounding names and blocking or deactivating their accounts. Last summer, an incident in which a Sephora employee was accused of racially profiling customers in the store went viral. Also in 2017, a former Lush employee filed a lawsuit against the company for racial discrimination.

These companies are clearly not perfect and have a long way to go before they can consider themselves allies to marginalized groups. But what about in this specific case? Are they doing good work?

The thing that separates Lush’s campaign and Sephora’s Classes for Confidence from, say, “feminist” underwear is that unlike with the underwear, someone other than the company is benefitting.

Lush actually donated money to trans charities. Sephora’s classes are developed by trans and non-binary employees to empower trans and non-binary people. Regardless of the other ways these companies may benefit from their campaigns, these actions are, I think, progress.

Especially at a time when transgender people face discrimination and danger simply for using public restrooms, to have major companies not only acknowledging but celebrating them is indeed a very big deal.

Photo Credit: Michael Saechange

36 comments

Sophie L
Past Member 2 months ago

thank you for posting

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Sabrina D
Sabrina D2 months ago

Very well!

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Gino C
Gino C2 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Angela J
Angela J2 months ago

Thanks

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Louise R
Louise R2 months ago

Thank you

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Janis K
Janis K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Joan E
Joan E2 months ago

Margie, here is a trick that can help you. If Care2 is not sending you all the email subjects you wish to receive, you can always go to Care2.com or to any Care2 email you do have, and you will be able to click on any subject. As long as you click on any article you see, you can go between Care2 Causes and Care2 Healthy Living. They are all there if you look for them at the top of the screen. Hope that wasn't too confusing. Try it.

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Joan E
Joan E2 months ago

Smart of Sephora to fill a need and expand their customer base. If other large cosmetic companies have done this, I haven't heard of it, but that is not saying much, because I don't pay much attention to cosmetics.

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Richard B
Richard B2 months ago

thanks for this

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pam w
pam w2 months ago

Interesting how self-styled compassionate animal rescuers can direct so much hatred toward those transgender/non-binary people. Chrissy...this is none of your business. Don't go into Sephora. Don't even think about Sephora. The fact that they're doing something compassionate for people who may need that service has NOTHING to do with you! (Well, unless, just possibly, you suspect an attraction to them?)

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