In 2015 Glamour magazine named Caitlyn Jenner Woman of the year, what made people believe in the illusion of having a society which doesn’t follow discriminating stigmas. However, according to statistics, the transgender homicide rate keeps growing in recent years. Charlie Craggs the transgender woman from the UK decided to change the current situation for the good and launched the project “Nail Transphobia“.


University project with a noble goal

Charlie started her campaign in 2013 at the age of 21. During her last year at the LCF Creative Direction course, she decided to make her graduation project focused on practice rather than on theory. She didn’t have to think a lot on the subject which would be highlighted in the project. Charlie knew herself how difficult the way of transition from your personal denial to full acceptance can be, how long time it takes and how much courage it claims. But living in society demands people around go through denial and reach the acceptance as well. At least, stop seeing an enemy in the human being which was born in a wrong body.


Thereby, she began to travel with her pop-up salon around the UK offering people free manicure and a chat with a trans person. Since most people never met a transgender in their everyday life, it offers a great opportunity to gain this unique experience. This, according to Charlie, will lead to less misunderstanding and prevent conflicts due to human ignorance.

“I can teach them how to be an ally, but the most important part of the interaction for me is just having a laugh and a chat because what I’m really trying to do with my campaign, as well as educate, is humanise the issue and show that trans people are just normal (actually pretty nice) people; I want people to go away with more than just a manicure, I want them to go away an ally. I’m trying to change hearts and minds a nail at a time”.

Charlie believes that doing someone’s nails is a very intimate process as it involves a physical interaction with a complete stranger. Thus, by letting someone interfere to your private room a person feels more likely to start chatting in order to get to know the one who touches your hands now. This is a right moment to start a pleasant conversation with the intelligent person. Highly-educated, Charlie Craggs offers her company and by her own example shows that transgender people are not like most thinks they are.

“Nail Transphobia” has already been represented at such well-known institutions as the Victoria and Albert Museum and also during Gay Pride in London and Fringe festival. It has collaborated with Lush, Asos and Selfridges.

Reaching the public

In the very beginning, social media played a significant role in achieving the popularity of “Nail Transphobia”. To be honest, that’s what they continue doing now. People started posting pictures of their manicured nails along with hashtag #NailTransphobia, what led to gaining support and appreciation, what was namely the most important part of the campaign.

However, running the project alone is a big challenge. Charlie admits that some of the visitors of her manicure salon were ignorant and impolite and were rude enough to ask questions which could hurt young woman. Besides that traveling around the country and doing a manicure for free is also a tough economic issue. All the expenses of the project Craggs bears alone. It is the possible reason why she decided to expand this salon and hire several manicure specialists.

On her website, she sells nail decals aiming to forward the collected money to the self-defence classes for transgenders. On her Instagram channel, she confesses that experience violence towards herself several times and knows for sure how important it is to be able to feel secure.

Nailing it to keep us shouting

“Nail Transphobia” is not the only thing Charlie Craggs does in terms of promoting a tolerate relation towards transgender people. She has recently published a book “To my trans sisters” – a guideline for people coming through the difficult process of transition. In an interview, she remembers the first days of her own transition which were a difficult thing to bear it alone. Trying to answer the needs of transgender community she looked back on her personal experience where a book like this could be a big friend.

“When I started transitioning in 2013, I really struggled. I didn’t know any other trans people, and I felt really lost and alone. <…> What I needed was a big sister figure to guide me through the transition. This is the case for most trans people: Transition is hard enough, but it’s harder when you have to go through it alone. I wanted to create a book of sisterly advice for the girls who need that big sister figure like I did”.

“To my trans sisters” is a collection of stories of other well-known transgender celebrities, practical information, and friendly advice – the most needed thing in that phase, which she used to google herself in times of troubles.

In tight connection with the project “Nail Transphobia,” Charlie offers a variety of events under the name of “Nailing It”. “Nailing It” includes series of workshops, lectures and even celebrations on reaching interim goals on the way to achieving a more tolerant society making the life of all its members equally comfortable. In her opinion, this initiative will help people like her overcome that difficult period of transition in their lives and also promote the importance of self-love.


All in all, this young woman reached a considerable progress. Small talks during the manicure session have proved to be effective in reaching more understanding between individuals and the society. Charlie confesses that since the project started she has found a lot of friends of absolutely different backgrounds which she managed to win over herself. What is more, she did it even with their families.

“I want to take it to the next level,” she says. “I’ve just gone global, with New York, but I want to go more places and spread the love. I’ve been really lucky that what I do gives me a voice in the media — I’m able to shout about important things that matter. So that’s what I want to do: Keep shouting.”

Subscribe to WM Daily. Be In Touch With Rebellious Voices