The Market Will Provide? Gosh, ‘Guardian’, You Astonish Me!

For transgender people, finding functional and attractive undergarments is difficult. Simply walking into a store is out of the question, since mainstream brands don’t cater to such specific needs. Instead, trans men and women rely on undergarments made for cross-dressers or post-surgery patients, or make do with DIY adjustments to regular underwear gleaned from YouTube videos, forums and blogs.

As a result, trans undergarments have always been more about function than fashion – until recently.

In the past few years, a number of designers have begun creating attractive underwear that caters specifically to the needs of trans bodies: binders to compress the chests of trans men and drawers with room for a prosthetic penis or stuffing material; underwear that flattens the groin area with stretch fabric and has room for hip and buttock padding for trans women, and bras made to fit a wider rib cage and accommodate inserts. These garments don’t just offer comfort – they can transform a person’s silhouette.

Hurrah for greedy commerce!

Cy Lauz, a transgender woman, says the lack of garments is more than inconvenient – it takes take a psychological toll. “On a human level, it’s disheartening,” she says. “When there are products out there [for you], it’s usually because someone recognizes your existence.”

And they didn’t need to be threatened by legislation, or cajoled to do it by tax breaks, either!

So, it’s win/win all round, yes?

Well, come on, this is the ‘Guardian’, after all:

While these products are a welcome alternative to makeshift underwear, trans people want more options.

“A lot of these garments are, frankly, boring from an aesthetic perspective,” wrote Elaine Mendus, a 25-year-old trans woman, in an email. “Where’s the lace? Where’s the risqué? Where’s the fun?”

While trans underwear businesses can work on diversifying their products, the most valid critique is the price point. While at least one company, LeoLines, offers male to female underwear for as little as $12, Chrysalis, Bluestockings Boutique and All is Fair sell items for between $36 and $175.

That’s too steep a price to pay for most members of the trans community, who are twice as likely to be unemployed than the general population and have high rates of homelessness.

“The parts of our community that are most in need can’t access these [undergarments],” says Oram. “I see it as a medical necessity.”

*sighs* Of course you do.

8 comments for “The Market Will Provide? Gosh, ‘Guardian’, You Astonish Me!

  1. Ed P
    September 27, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Surelt Elaine MENdus/MENDus must be made-up name? It’s just too funny!

    • October 4, 2015 at 7:28 am


  2. Ed P
    September 27, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Surely Elaine MENdus/MENDus must be made-up name? It’s just too funny!

  3. September 27, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    I wonder if these people have been offered the alternative? What alternative, it might be asked?

    Dignitas of course. They will end their miserable days in comfort, they will never ever have to complain about either having nothing to wear; or whether the proffered garment makes their butt look big; or small, or even significant. They will also, happily, ‘shut the f@*k up’ about no-one understanding or appreciating them.

    As a best offer, no-one, absolutely no-one, has ever returned to complain about the Dignitas service.

  4. September 27, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    For transgender people …

    I stopped there.

  5. Errol
    September 27, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    I work with one. He’s a bloke. Always will be. They can pretend, but they’re really just egomaniacs wanting to live out a caricature of what they think men/women are like. He will always be a man in a dress.

    What annoys me – what really, honestly gets up my nose is that I am forbidden from saying this. My rights to disagree with their egotism is prevented on pain of disciplinary. I’m forbidden mocking, addressing him as a him and making light of their own decision.

    As a decent human being I don’t really want to but I am annoyed that his rights to live his life supercede my own.

    • mikebravo
      September 28, 2015 at 9:02 am

      You are not allowed to oppress “Loretta” or laugh at her “right to raise a foetus in a box” – under pain of the sack. I would say that you couldn’t make it up but….

      • October 4, 2015 at 7:29 am

        But you no longer need to make it up!

Comments are closed.