Non-Binary person from a poor background rises up to own his own business

According to the LGBTQI community, it is difficult to find meaningful employment, especially when employers dismiss and undermine them. They are often judged based on their gender and sexuality. However, Rinzin Galley, 23, has set a positive example in the community as he pursued his passion for beautifying hair and nails.

Rinzin owns a beauty salon. Rinzin revealed that he was on the feminine side as a child, but had no idea what LGBTQI was about. Growing up, he researched what LGBT meant, and he was never confused about why he was attracted to the same sex and did not identify as male or female. He came out in 2020.

He was always fascinated by long hair and nails, and felt strongly about working in a salon as a preferable career option.

He said he had no aptitude for the academic learning, and soon opted for a beautician-training course at a training institute in Changangkha, Thimphu.

He worked in the institute’s salon for a year and following that, he began working in one of the salons in Olakha for a year in 2020.

The owner of the salon encouraged him to operate the salon, so she offered him the salon on hire. However, as the pandemic hit he experienced difficulties as well, but he ran the business on hire for a year and a half until the owner handed over the business solely to Rinzin.

He said, “The owner transferred the ownership, and because I come from a poor background, I had to apply for a loan from Bhutan Development Bank Limited (BDBL) since this was the only bank that offered a loan. I utilized the money to open the salon. In 2021, I changed the name of the salon from “The Vanity Zone Beauty Parlour” to ‘Mathang Morab’, which I received from Garab Rinpoche.”

Rinzin runs the salon all by himself, with no staff. He is a beautician and a makeup artist. He earns roughly Nu 40,000 per month from the salon, and some extra cash from makeup services. He is also a member of Queer Community in Bhutan.

When he first shared his plans of starting and working in the salon business with his mother, she was skeptical if he could make a decent living from a beauty salon for the rest of his life. The skepticism is now gone as his biggest supporter is his mother.

He said that he is attempting to keep the salon and makeup separate since he wants to establish his identity through makeup, therefore he also does makeup for others.

Initially when Rinzin started his own salon, it was very new, and there were only a few customers.

But nowadays, his salon is being recommended by loyal customers to their friends and relatives, and business is picking up.

Rinzin claimed that in urban areas, people are educated and have the exposure, and they are aware that in foreign countries, many hairdressers and make-up artists are men, therefore, they have no issues getting the services in salon by them.

He said that he does not expect the society to accept LBGTQI members immediately, but they do expect society to respect them like any other human being and not hurt them.

Rinzin intends to continue operating his salon, and if things go well, he hopes to hire a few employees.

Rinzin is also being offered to do make up in the entertainment industry.

It was a dream come true for Rinzin to be recognized for his makeup skills. Going beyond, he wants to learn more and specialize in effects makeup and realistic makeup.

Rinzin remarked, “Do whatever you want. Even if you are paid less, doing the work you enjoy gives you a sense of satisfaction. It’s always a new beginning and a new experience for me, and I look forward to doing the services I enjoy everyday.”

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