She said trans women who haven’t had surgery have few options to help conceal their genitals – and what’s out there is a far cry from anything found on the shelves of Victoria’s Secret and Anne Summers.
Carmen Liu, 27, from London, has designed flattering underwear that ‘tucks’ the genitals in while featuring pretty bows and lace trimmings usually found on conventional lingerie.
Slamming the traditional ‘gaff’ – which she describes as the “love child of Borat’s mankini and a jock strap” – Carmen says all women deserve the experience of wearing sexy lingerie.
She is also adding bras to the range to match her innovative bottoms, which keeps the area down below looking flat with a secret combination of design and fabric.
As well as underwear, the entrepreneur is also bringing out her own ‘tucking tape’ – which is safe for skin and a less painful alternative to household tapes that many trans women use.
I get a lot of emails from girls like me and it never surprises me how similar our experiences are. For most of us, we started dressing when we were younger and whether it was conscience or instinctive, we knew we had to hide this. Some of us felt shame, some of us were embarrassed, some of us terrified of being caught.
We usually started to experiment a little more with this as teenagers. We started to buy (and hide) clothes, usually starting with panties. Endless cycles of shopping, shame, terror, purging and ultimately shopping again. Like a caterpillar into a butterfly, we are constantly trying to be beautiful.
We suppress it as we start to date and find committed relationships and we either hope this side of us will go away or that we will ignore it.
But we cannot outgrow this part of us. This is who we are. It will never go away.
I’ll say it again in case you don’t believe me, but this is a part of you and it will always be a part of you and it’s a beautiful part of you.
I think feelings of shame, embarrassment, and fear for some of us come from the perceived link between sexuality and wearing lingerie or anything else.
Every single one of us knows that what we wear has zero connection to who we want to be intimate with or who we want to be in a relationship with.
But not everyone knows that. If you’ve ever come out to someone, whether intentionally or not, you probably have been asked if you’re gay. The first time I was asked that I was a little taken aback. I knew there was no link between what I wore to bed and who I wanted to go to bed with.
People who ask this about us can be forgiven, though. For many, the first introduction to our world, whether we are trans, gender non-conforming or something else is drag. The world of drag is typically dominated by gay men dressing up in a very exaggerated fashion. For most of us, that is not who we are. We know the difference between wanting to dress up and hit the mall and glamming up to strut the stage at a drag show.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 🙂 Or any of this.
The point I am trying to make is that a label can be very divisive when it comes to who we are. We might be offended by one label, we may need to clarify a different one, or change our label at different points of our lives.
Of course, I don’t care for labels, but I understand the nuances our community has and in come cases, a specific label might be useful.
The big T word is a loaded word. When I identify as transgender, I often will clarify what being trans means to me. Yes, Caitlyn Jenner and Lavern Cox are transgender but I am not trans like them. I have not transitioned nor do I feel that I want or need to. I resisted identifying as transgender for a long time until a t-girl friend of mine said that her definition of trans was anything that went against the societal norms of the gender you were assigned at birth.
So, you like to paint your nails? Trans. You’re rocking eyeliner? Trans. Wearing a beautiful matching bra and panty under your suit? Trans. Looking amazing from wig to heels at the mall? Lipsyncing to Madonna in 7 inch platforms at a gay club? Trans.
I know that this is a very broad definition and that’s what I like about it. When I identified as a crossdresser, at a certain point I felt that the term didn’t really encompass who I was. It was more than just clothes but I didn’t feel that it was appropriate to call myself transgender. Using the definition my friend gave me, I accepted that a crossdresser was also transgender.
I embraced that term and never looked back. I like identifying as trans. People know the term. If needed, I can get more in-depth about what being transgender means to me specifically, but more often than not, just identifying as transgender is enough. When I used to schedule makeovers I could, if needed, tell the salon I was transgender. These days I don’t because I don’t think it matters; makeup is makeup. Every face is different, regardless of gender.
As I said, people know the term. Over the last few years the rest of the world has gotten a crash course in the different ways someone can identify as when it comes to gender. It’s been exhausting for many of us as we often take on the role of educator and explaining the difference between terms like cis, trans, non-binary and many others. It’s also been heartbreaking as we see our community lose our rights, attacked, misunderstood and portrayed in completely inaccurate ways.
It’s a complicated term for some of us in our community, too.
I often get emails from girls like us who are looking for support and looking for friends and others like them. Many of us start by identifying as a crossdresser. For some, they just want to look beautiful. Some just want to wear lingerie. Some want to have adventures in the real world presenting as the gender they (sometimes) identify as. Crossdressing is a comfortable label for them. I get it, I was there.
When someone is looking for support, more often than not I refer them to PFLAG. According to their website, their mission is in uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy. PFLAG has 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This vast grassroots network is cultivated, resourced, and serviced by PFLAG National, located in Washington, D.C., the National Board of Directors and 13 volunteer Regional Directors.
I attended PFLAG meetings years ago, back before I identified as trans. The meetings were wonderful and I got to meet people who loved and accepted me regardless of what I was wearing. The support groups were important too as I met others like me, others who wanted to be beautiful but were happy to live most of their lives as male. PFLAG meetings and support groups are also a safe way to go somewhere dressed, especially the first few times you go out. It’s helpful to know you are going to be surrounded by people who will not bat an eyelash at a girl like us.
Some people get angry or offended when I suggest PFLAG. They insist they are a crossdresser, not transgender. They want to emphasize that they are straight and do not want to transition. They like wearing lingerie, dresses, they have a femme name but they are not transgender. They just want to meet others like them and to talk about this side of themselves to others.
Number one, yes, you are transgender.
And number two, that’s what PFLAG is for.
I don’t want to transition. I do not, and have never wanted to date men. But I am transgender.
We all remember the first time we wore…something. Whether it was a pair of panties or a high heel we remember that thrill. We also knew that it was a complicated moment. What did it mean? We tried our entire lives to understand this and why we do what we do, but there is no reason. Nothing to understand. Just something to accept and embrace.
We tell the media and the cis-world to not be afraid of the word transgender. We shouldn’t be either.
This is the second outfit that I wore for my teeny-tiny photo shoot with Shannonlee last month. When I first started to dress beyond lingerie, I was really, really into little black dresses. I have quite a few of them but every once in a while I find one that I HAVE to have. This was one of them. The slit is a little high but I don’t mind at all. 😉
PFLAG’s mission is uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies. PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy. PFLAG has 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
PFLAG was the first support organization I heard of when I was growing up. I attended their meetings a few years ago and found it was a supportive and inclusive community. PFLAG is a wonderful group, especially for our spouses and family members and I am happy to promote the events the Twin Cities chapter has scheduled.
Please join us for our February 19th support groups.
Tuesday, February 19th, 6:30 – 7:45 pm.
Union Congregational Church
3700 Alabama Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416
In March MN author Austen Hartke will discuss his new book:
Transforming; The Bible & the Lives of Transgender Christians.
After the comments by a Victoria’s Secret CEO a few months ago, many in our community, including myself, have decided to stop shopping there. It’s hard to deny that they had really cute panties and for the most part, many of us had very welcoming and comfortable experiences there. So, where’s a t-girl to go?
However, shopping online and shopping in a store are different experiences, especially when it comes to lingerie. A few members of the MN T-Girls reached out to me and asked where a girl like us could go for a bra fitting in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area.
I live to serve.
For the February MN T-Girl outing, I arranged for a private shopping event at Allure, a really wonderful lingerie boutique in Saint Paul. Like other private events we’ve been to, this took place after the store closed to the general public in order to create a safe, supportive and inclusive night of shopping en femme.
There’s no denying that Allure is just a really wonderful lingerie shop. It’s warm, intimate, and has a really incredible selection of panties, bras, bodysuits, shapewear and pajamas. Their sizing is also inclusive which can go up to 3x and bras that go up to 48k.
For our event we had three amazing hosts who helped us all with bra fittings, recommendations, and special orders. But the most important thing they did for our group and our community is showing how supportive they are.
There were about twenty of us at the event and we definitely kept our hosts busy. Our hosts were amazing as they helped us with bra fittings and educating us with everything from bra care to explaining how to find our cup size for those of us who wear forms. Our hosts helped us find matching panties for beautiful bras as well as shapewear for those who are looking for some curves. Some of us came to the event who were just looking to start building their lingerie wardrobe, some of us were looking for new sleepwear but for myself I wanted a new matching bra/panty set and a new black push-up bra. I am thrilled with what I found.
I’ve been admiring the recent look of tight black tops paired with a gray check skirt for a while and I thought it’d be a perfect outfit to wear for a tiny photo shoot with Shannonlee last month. Instead of a shirt or a blouse I wore a black bodysuit for a sleeker look.
I really want a nice breast form plate! I have a more masculine chest and neck and would like it covered! Do you have any suggestion! Price is not a problem just want something that looks real and is quality! It will really help with my confidence!
Thank you so much!
I don’t have much experience using forms or padding, though I (finally) started wearing breast forms about a year ago. I actually really like them and I am surprised at how natural they look and feel. I resisted them for a very long time as I wanted to be as natural as possible but I really feel that my forms are a part of me. I was afraid that they would unattach or create some sort of wardrobe malfunction but no worries yet!