Tabatha Coffey: Hair Apparent

Tabatha Coffey, out host of Tabatha's Salon Takeover, combs over what you won't read in her empowering new memoir, It's Not Really About the Hair.

BY Brandon Voss

February 09 2011 5:00 AM ET

Aside from tame tidbits about their relationship, Coffey keeps her partner of 12 years, whom she does not identify in the book, to herself. “I was honest and candid about everything else, but it was a personal choice to draw the line at that,” Coffey explains. “She’s incredibly private. I’ve chosen to put myself out there, and I respect that she doesn’t want to be a part of that. It’s enough, and it says something to everyone — gay and straight — just to be in a long-term relationship that works. When everything else is so public, it’s nice to come home to that haven.”

Coffey does open up about her first “U-Haul” girlfriend and a brief retreat to the closet to appease her disapproving mother, whom she recently lost to cancer. “She was incredibly accepting of everyone in the strip clubs, so I didn’t think it would be an issue,” Coffey says. “I never really knew where that angst came from, and I regret that I couldn’t fully answer that question when I was writing the book. Knowing she was sick, we had that conversation after the book was already written. She had gotten to a place where she was totally accepting of my lifestyle, but she was embarrassed by her initial reaction, and she apologized. Having seen those girls at the clubs ostracized and going through everything from hormone therapies to gay bashings, she just wanted to protect me.”

It’s Not Really About the Hair also explores Coffey’s struggle between protecting her nonconformist lesbian identity and honoring her responsibility to the LGBT community. “I live privately in that my partner and I are private, but I do have a voice as a gay woman in the public eye,” says Coffey, who participated in an early PSA for the NoH8 campaign. “I don’t feel like I have to wave a flag in a parade, but I’m the first person to talk about equality. People with power need to stop hiding in closets. If one person can be comforted or encouraged by the fact that I’m out and successful, then it’s all worth it.”
Tags: Books

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