Big Bro's Barber Shop offers open ears and confidence-boosting haircuts

Nov 12 2021, 10:37 pm

Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, we’re turning the spotlight onto local businesses, organizations, and individuals who are helping to create a healthy local economy.

Based in Vancouver, Big Bro’s Barbershop is a beauty and resource centre for the trans community and beyond.

Vancity has been supporting people in our communities since 1946. As part of our Made in Vancouver series spotlighting local businesses, we talked to Jessie Anderson, the owner of Big Bro’s Barbershop, about his inspirations, his journey, and his hopes for the barbershop. Learn more about what Vancity is doing in your community at

In 2015, Jessie Anderson realized that many places that marketed themselves as LGBT safe spaces had a gap left unaddressed for trans individuals.

As a trans man himself, Anderson was rarely able to access spaces of any sort where his needs were already known by staff. He found that whether he was purchasing clothes, visiting the doctor, catching a flight, or simply looking for a bathroom, he was always needing to explain his presence and specific needs.

Wanting to create a space where staff were already savvy in the needs of trans folks, Anderson created his own brick-and-mortar space that was dedicated specifically to the wellness of the transgender community.

This space, the Big Bro’s Barbershop, has been operating as a hub for the local and national trans community since 2015. 

Big Bro’s Barbershop offers haircuts and colour without any gendered expectations of its clients, as well as gender-affirming products and peer support and community connections. 

Anderson himself is a graduate of London School’s Old School Barbering course and specializes in ultra-short skin fades, straight razor shaves, and enhanced masculinization for clients who may struggle with being recognized as men by the public. Jessie has also worked and lived with a diverse mix of queer folks since 2004, and “enjoys using his understanding of society’s gendered beauty expectations to help clients construct a creative aesthetic of their very own.”

Other barbers in the shop specialize in vivid hair colours, long hairstyles, femme haircuts, and more. The barbershop is also inclusive of those with disabilities and can accommodate folks with specific needs.

The space is one in which trans clients should be able to take off their emotional armour when they are inside.

“We strive to be a legitimately safe space for all kinds of trans people,” he explained to Daily Hive.

Beyond his experience with hair, Anderson has been navigating BC’s trans health care system since 2007 and has spent years building a strong personal network of trans-friendly businesses, health care providers, non-profits, event organizers, and more. If you have a question about transition and/or local resources for the LGBTQ2SIA+ community, he’s always ready to dig up an answer.

Those interested in visiting the safe space and getting their hair cut can do so at Big Bro’s Barber Shop at 1685 Nanaimo Street, Vancouver.

They are currently offering cuts on a sliding scale basis and are often booking one to four days in advance.

Daily Hive

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Alyssa TherrienAlyssa Therrien

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