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For transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary people like me, swimsuit shopping is hell on earth. On top of regular weight fluctuation and body image issues, some of us may also experience gender dysphoria, the feeling that our body does not match our gender identity.
Thankfully, the world is moving in a more inclusive direction. Brands are becoming more and more conscious about our community’s needs, serving up fashionable gender-neutral and gender-affirming clothing. Contrary to popular belief, gender-neutral fashion isn’t always boxy, androgynous and boyish. It can be colorful, floral, soft and form-fitting, too.
Transform dysphoria into euphoria with these five gender-affirming swimwear brands:
Founders Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez started TomboyX in their garage in 2012 with the simple mission of creating underwear that fit masculine people for who they are, not who the world wants them to be. TomboyX’s swimwear line includes solid basics and vibrant patterns, plus their selection ranges from XS-4X, with some styles available in 5X and 6X.
Beefcake Swimwear makes 1920’s-style one-piece swimsuits with simple designs and high-quality performance fabric. In 2017, Beefcake Swimwear launched a Kickstarter campaign that earned more than $35,000 and unwavering support from the LGBTQ+ community searching for stylish swimwear options. Their swimsuits range in size from XS-5XL, with sizing options available for people with longer torsos.
In 2010, Becca McCarren-Tran founded fashion brand Chromat with inspiration from her background in architecture. Chromat’s future-forward designs have been streamlined into a high-fashion swimwear line for people of all genders, body shapes and abilities. Chronicled on their Instagram page, Chromat’s design process includes using two different dress forms, one plus-size and one “standard”-size, to ensure perfect fit for all sizes.
Outplay makes high-quality sportswear and swimwear with chest compression for folx who are interested in binding their chest. Of all the binder brands on the market, Outplay offers the most comfortable and breathable pieces that still achieve the desired look of a flat chest. Their sizing options range from XS-2XL, with options for low compression or high compression for most styles.
Designer and activist Sky Cubacub (they/them) created Rebirth Garments based on the principle of Radical Visibility. “Through the use of bright colors, exuberant fabrics, and innovative designs, [we highlight] the parts of us that society typically shuns,” Cubacub shares on the site’s mission statement. Shop gender-affirming swimwear on their Etsy page.
While you’re there, take a peek at their accessible face mask designs that feature a clear panel to help Deaf and Hard of hearing folx communicate via lip reading.
Let’s raise a frozen margarita to a gender-affirming summer for everybody. Whether you’re lounging poolside or oceanside, your gender is valid and you deserve to feel comfortable, confident and joyful in your swimwear. Shop these inclusive companies: