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Monday, January 24, 2022

New Queer-owned auto shop aims to bring inclusivity to Denver’s auto industry

CC Haug has always had a passion for cars, having grown up in a family that owns dealerships and auto shops. That interest led him to continually splurge on race cars and custom-built vehicles for recreation, and eventually earned a degree in science and mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

But when Hugh, a transgender woman, decided to start hormone therapy, she worried she would have to sacrifice her identity or her livelihood.

“I identify as queer, I’m actually going to start hormone therapy in early January. One of the reasons I didn’t do it earlier in life is because, for me, mechanical stuff, cars, all that stuff. Such a great passion,” said Hugh. “If I start my transition, what am I going to do for work? what is going to happen?”

This was the genesis of creating Good Judy’s Garage, a car shop dedicated to inclusivity and education in an industry that Haug said has a pervasive “politicized type of mentality”. The 2,200-square-foot garage, which has three volumes, opened in Sheridan on December 19.

The name Good Judy Garage is a tribute to Judy Garland, a well-known ally for the LGBTQ+ community. Similarly, HOG’s mission is to provide a space where customers don’t feel intimidated by their gender identity, sexual orientation or lack of knowledge about cars.

“One thing that I think is important for both of us is the education aspect. There are many people who have texted us saying, ‘I would love to learn how to change the oil or change a tire,’ just very basic simple maintenance,” said Faith Hogg, Partner and Director of Business Development at CC Said. “And the people I spoke to in particular were women, whether they were straight, gay or trans. But because they were female in some way, they felt they couldn’t ask a regular shop that How to do it or there is no one in their life who would do that.”

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One way Good Judy Garage strives to bring greater understanding to its services is through price transparency. The website lists the costs of routine maintenance, such as an oil change ($25), as well as the cost of labor ($120 an hour) and how the bill would be calculated for more extensive work. Faith said that if a job took more hours than originally quoted, clients would not have to pay the difference.

“Services on vehicles and repairs can be incredibly expensive, and so to try to make it so they know what they’re running and what I hope helps take some of the edge off,” CC Haug said. “In terms of ethics, that’s one of the reasons I came back to do this.”

Sissi recalls an instance when she took her daily driver, a Baja-style 2000 Toyota Tundra, for alignment, only to be told it needed several tools to replace—all of which she recently had. Changed on his own.

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