Michael and Sarah's story began in 1983 when they met in beauty school, fell in love, married, and started a business together. Their hair salon is in its 34th year and has formed close ties to the LGBT community through their customers and staff. Michael and Sarah created an environment where love was as important as beauty and their salon was welcoming to all.
Over a decade ago, Billie Lee and Ko Wills entered their lives at the start of their transition. Strong friendships were born and, as always, the salon was a place of love, acceptance and safety.
Years after Ko and Billie came into their lives, the friendship took a different turn as Michael and Sarah now needed their love and support. Their child took the courageous step of accepting who they really were and came out as transgender. In spite of their strong LGBT ties and experiences, however, they had the typical reaction of many parents of transgender children: shock, sadness, and fear. They felt alone and they were in denial.
However, in time they overcame their fears. The journey to acceptance was long and difficult, but their unconditional love for their child was the guiding light that led the way.
Today their child is happy, healthy, transitioned, and secure in the love of their parents, friends and large extended family. Michael and Sarah knew now was the time to use their time and talent to make a difference in the lives of other transgender youth.
Michael and Sarah created a network of cisgender friends and family along with transgender role models led by Ko and Billie. Thus, The Aphrodite Project was born.
In Greek mythology, Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty and our project uses those same attributes to transform and empower the next generation to be advocates not only for themselves, but for the world.