AGAINST THEH SKIN

Garments worn against the skin, or undergarments, can vary for people who identify in the LGBTQIA+ community. Fashion brands have responded to this and created different undergarments, some of which are on display here. Some individuals may prefer more masculine style undergarments such as boxer or boxer briefs. Additionally, some individuals who are transgender or gender nonconforming may wear a garment called a binder, which compresses the chest for a flat appearance on the front of the body.

White t-shirt, white boxer short; Owner – Jennifer (lesbian, genderqueer, 50, lives in Iowa); c. 2010s

White t-shirt, Fashion & Culture Research Lab at Iowa State University

“So, I had a hysterectomy two years ago, it was an emergency and then I was able to talk to the doctor about, joking but serious, you know "should we chop these [breasts] off.” One of the surgeons here does a lot of top surgeries and so my body fits more. It is fantastic not to have to wear bras. I mean I would put one on every day and it was horrible.” -personal interview with Jennifer, November 21, 2017

“These are my "lucky nuts" boxers. I like them because I'm Irish, and so they have little Irish clovers, and I don't have nuts so I liked that when I wore them – I had nuts! – personal interview with Jennifer, November 21, 2017

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Black t-shirt, grey boxer brief; Owner – TomboyX; 2017

Black t-shirt, Fashion & Culture Research Lab at Iowa State University

White binder, black packing underwear, prosthetic penis aka packer; Owner – FtM Essentials; 2017

“The first customers I had were people from my queer community and a lot of those folks were trans guys. And right away they started asking for trans supportive gear: packers. Packers - which are limp penises that are meant to make a bulge in the pants - not something that you would use for penetration. So, different than a sex toy, but because they're penises they come from the sex toy industry. So, I started, just kind of as a response to my community, carrying what was available at the time and really seeking out whatever I could.” – personal interview with Searah Deysach, owner of FtM Essentials, November 7, 2017

“We sell a lot of things to hold your packer in, we have underwear that is made specifically with pouches in it to hold the packer. We sell straps that hold the packer, we have what's really popular now are these pouches that you just attach the inside of your pants so that you can wear your packer in a secure pouch in any pair of pants you have.” – personal interview with Searah Deysach, owner of FtM Essentials, November 7, 2017

Black binder; Owner – FtM Essentials; 2017

“We sell binders, which flatten someone's chest. We could probably, if we had the ability to, sell every style they make in every color and every size. It’s a huge amount of what we sell. It's frustrating to me because I feel like binders in particular, there's such this great need for them and there's so few people making them and there's really only like two companies that are making them in a mass market kind of way. No binder's perfect, there's nothing you can do to make binding perfect.” – personal interview with Searah Deysach, owner of FtM Essentials, November 7, 2017

Black boxer brief with rainbow waistband; Owner – TomboyX; 2017

TomboyX is a brand that makes undergarments targeted towards lesbian women.

“I used to wear Hanes. Hanes made this four-inch brief. It's like a boxer brief, and then they stopped making it. In my drawer I had this tattered, 10-year-old pair of underwear that I really liked. But, it was never really long enough? I always wanted it a little bit longer. But, it was the closest I could get.” – personal interview with Naomi Gonzalez, founder of TomboyX, November 11, 2017

 

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Pink sports bra and boxer brief; Owner – TomBoyX; 2017

“We wanted to be that brand that, that lets you be unapologetic about who you are, all day every day. Just to feel comfortable in your own skin.” – personal interview with Fran Dunaway, founder of TomboyX, November 11, 2017

“I love seeing it every time someone posts that this is the thing that makes them feel comfortable in their own skin. And we're saying that again because that's literally the, that's what it is. It's, feeling empowered, and feeling really good about yourself. And, that's a challenge for a lot of people. So, if we can help in that.” – personal interview with Naomi Gonzalez, founder of TomboyX, November 11, 2017

Multi colored lingerie top and bottom; Owner – Rebirth Garments; 2017

“At first it was going to be two separate lines, I was thinking about underwear or undergarments, specifically lingerie for trans folks. Then I was thinking about clothing for folks with disabilities. I had this these ideas of two separate lines but then pretty quickly like in that week that I was thinking about this, I was like why would I separate them, they should just be merged and then I could also do very intersectional stuff like lingerie for folks with disabilities and then trans folks with disabilities and also centering POC folks and fat folks in like celebratory ways.” – personal interview with Sky Cubacub, October 22, 2017