Diversity in Lingerie: Gender

I’ve been thinking about writing a post on gender for a while now, and #DiversityInLingerie seems like the perfect opportunity to talk about this:

I am transgender*. The asterisk there signifies that “transgender”, as used here, refers not just to binary trans persons, but also to genderqueer and agender individuals. More specifically, I am agender. That means that I don’t identify as female… or male… or genderfluid… or anything gendered at all. I am not a woman- I’m just a person.

diversity diversity2 diversity3

In the realm of lingerie, there’s a lot of pressure to conform to traditional gender roles… a few months ago, I was even afraid to post photos that showed my armpit hair.  Over the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of transphobia in the realm of lingerie, and it makes me really sad.  I’ll talk about a few things here:

1) I wear lace and frilly things. I cannot for the life of me understand what lace and frills have to do with “womanhood”. But I’ve had countless people tell me that clearly I am female because I like to wear dresses and velvet and lace. Or that I have large breasts and don’t try to minimize them means that I identify as female.

Nope. I like lace and velvet and dresses because I like the way they look. It’s as simple as that.

2) Lots of bra forums and related websites are “for women only”. I know the intent is to keep out fetishists**, but what about people female-bodied persons who are not women?

3) Related to the last point: a lot of hate spouted at transwomen. My hunch here is that people just don’t get that there is a difference between people who wear bras or who post on bra forums because they find it sexually arousing** and transwomen (non-female-bodied women). Transwomen aren’t “sort or women” or “men pretending to be women”… transwomen are women.

(**I’m bringing this up not because fetishes are “icky” or “perverted”, but because there is a big difference between crossdressing and being transgender. When you’re involving sexual things (fetishes), you need to make sure all involved parties are consenting… which isn’t the case on forums for bra-fitting, which isn’t a sexual subject.)

I haven’t nearly exhausted my thoughts on this subject, but I think this is a good place to start.

15 thoughts on “Diversity in Lingerie: Gender

  1. I think this was an important post to add to the campaign since it combats some of the “woman” and “female” tones consistently paired with lingerie. I know I am guilty of this from time to time, but it’s important to remember that what we associate as “woman” is not universal. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great post! I really can’t stand trans*fobia or how cis people act like trans* people does not exist or should not be taken seriously. Your contribution and opinion on this topic is very important and I love that you were courageous enough to post beautiful pictures (this purple velvet… I NEED it!) and write about the issue. Thank you :)

  3. Thanks so much for writing this post. I too have noticed transphobia in the lingerie world, but I’m not sure how to approach the topic myself because most people know very little about trans* people. But, this is the reason it so badly needs to be discussed. Hopefully we can start having a discussion about it. Trans women are women, and they deserve a relationship with lingerie just like everyone else. I understand wanting to avoid sexual content, but we also have to remember that not everyone who doesn’t identify as a woman sees lingerie as a fetish. I feel that this point is missed sometimes. Anyway, fantastic post! :)

  4. This is why I try to use the word “people” instead of “women” when I write about people who wear bras. It’s because a lot of us aren’t necessarily women, but we have breasts and wear bras.

    No one can tell my gender just by looking at me. I identify as genderqueer, which I think I have mentioned on the blog, which for me means I don’t necessarily ID as male or female, but a kind of in-between mix of the two, leaning toward masculine. I’m a pretty masculine person who happens to wear femme drag under my other clothes.

    In the immortal words of RuPaul: “You are born naked, everything after that is drag.”

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