When Valentine's Day approaches each year, I'm inevitably swamped with ads for the newest, sleekest, sexiest lingerie. But when you're a nonbinary transgender person, a lot of that lingerie can feel like it's not made for you.
For those who need a primer, being nonbinary means I don't identify as either a man or a woman; instead, I identify as transmasculine, someone who was assigned female at birth (AFAB) but who connects more with masculinity. Some nonbinary people don't identify on the feminine-to-masculine scale at all, which makes buying lingerie, a traditionally gendered piece of clothing, even more complicated.
For transgender folks all across the gender spectrum, both binary and nonbinary, finding well-made and appropriately fitted underwear and lingerie can feel like an impossible task. Trans bodies often don't fit the usual mold, so whether it's AFAB people struggling to find tight boxers that don't bag in the front, or assigned-male-at-birth trans women who can't find bras to fit their chest and shoulder sizes, buying underthings can be an exercise in settling.
6" Fly Boxer Briefs, $27, tomboyx.com
Luckily, there are some options. My top personal recommendation is Origami Customs, a shop with radically trans-friendly policies where everything is custom-sized and made to order. Origami's owner Rachel Hill hand makes each piece by herself, so prices for the shop offerings — which range from swimwear to dresses — can be a little steep, but the quality is worth it. Other brands, like TomboyX, offer less expensive pieces like these 6" fly boxer briefs, which have no problem snugly fitting AFAB people like me.
Tory Moir, a nonbinary artist and sewist, tells Bustle that their solution to not finding products to suit their body "the way it is" is a plan to design and sew it themself.
"I'd want to make pieces that would fit a variety of bodies and genders," they explain. "So maybe I'd make more masculine stuff that would fit bodies other than an ideal 'male' body, or more feminine pieces for folks with different curves — like briefs with no cock pocket, tanks or bralettes with cute lace, etc."
Custom Black Strappy Open Frame Bra Harness Cage With Convertible Straps, $62, origamicustoms.com
Aly Issabelle, who identifies as agender, also buys boxer-briefs. "I've got boxer briefs that are Calvin Klein and they're just plain black but they make such a statement," they tell Bustle. "I really wish, on the subject of the fact that literally ALL lingerie is super gendered, that there were more 'neutral' things?" they say. "Like, here's some briefs that are just briefs! Or hey here's a slightly cropped undershirt that can be worn by anyone who wishes to!"
For Jess, who asked to be referred to by first name only, finding lingerie that fits them and makes them feel good means walking the razor's edge of potential dysphoria. "I tend toward things that don't hyper define the body," they tell Bustle. "[I]tems that don't expect or emphasize breasts because as an AFAB agender person with a very large chest (J cup) it can be hard to find lingerie that doesn't trigger my dysphoria."
Smooth & Chic Control Brief, $39, citychiconline.com
While these folks' suggestions have given our fellow trans babes an idea of where they can snag their next Valentine's Day, we can't ignore that finding lingerie which is not made for cisgender (and often thin and white) bodies is quite a feat.
For nonbinary folks, buying lingerie often means figuring out how to find sexy things that fit in the the right places, while helpfully hiding or minimizing any parts of our bodies we may be uncomfortable with. One can hope that by Valentine's Day 2018, we'll have more nonbinary options not only from trans-friendly small businesses, but also from larger companies who recognize the need for lingerie built for our bodies.
Images: Courtesy Brands