A new blog breeds a culture of acceptance.
We've all stood in front of our closet and thought we don't have a single thing to wear, but what if you woke up every day and had to choose an outfit from apparel meant for the opposite gender. That's what happens every day to those who weren't assigned the right body or gender. If a trans person isn't out yet or isn't old enough or rich enough to shop alone, the idea of finding a whole new wardrobe can be daunting and isolating. Transitioning is hard enough, nevermind if the old Levis, skirts, or boxer shorts in your drawers weren't made for your self-identified gender.
Because of this common challenge, a generous Tumblr community has built around getting trans people new clothes discreetly. The brand new Trans Clothes Swap is just that—a forum to submit pictures of clothing to be donated (with shipping) and a place for trans people to put call-outs for unique items they're hunting for. Clothes are tagged as masculine/feminine/androgynous and other necessary accessories, from bras, to binders, and swimwear are posted for the taking. The idea is similar to another community that launched in 2012, The Tumblr Transgender Clothing Exchange, run by 21-year-old self-identified genderqueer Jay, who not only seeks to provide a clothes swap, but a means to fundraise money for reassignment surgery and hormones.
The one rule of these very accepting communities? Cisgender people, or those who believe they were assigned the correct gender at birth, need to stay far away from the swap, unless they plan to donate. The reason being that the rest of the world's clothing stores cater directly to cisgender people, so they don't really need that cute halter top posted for free on Trans Clothes Swap.
Looking through the hundreds of submissions in the few weeks that the Swap has been live, you'll find people who are searching for items of such specificity and sensitivity that the need for the community becomes self evident. Some are large-chested people seeking wide enough binders to strap down breasts or people looking for their first suits. As one poster asks: "I'm looking for a binder that will fit a large D or small DD, or any male clothing that is size L or XL. If you would like any feminine clothing to trade, I could do that or even draw something." It's something very few malls could provide, but thanks to Tumblr, a wide net of people can navigate anonymously around the digital racks. The barter may be for an article of clothing, but the ultimate exchange is one of understanding, acceptance, and safety.
Images via Trans Clothes Swap.