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LGBT-owned brands used to be a rarity, but many have flourished over the last decade. Shifting social attitudes and new technologies have given queer and trans founders unprecedented access to resources and visibility that would have been hard to believe in previous generations. Today, if you wanted to, you could easily shop nothing but products made by LGBT-owned companies for every facet of your life—from your hair and beauty products to food, tech, and beyond—and live quite comfortably.
We’ve shared some of our favorite LGBT-founded brands in the past. This year, to celebrate Pride, we’re taking a look at ones that cater to the specific needs of LGBT people: the ways we present our bodies to the world, and the ways we enjoy them in private.
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Brooklyn-based Goodparts makes what the brand calls “personal care products to complement your personal style—in bed.” In other words, high-quality lubricants in sleek packaging that you might not mind leaving out on your nightstand.
Choose between the aloe-based Hydrating Organic Lube or the Ultra-Smooth Silicone (both $28, with a 10% discount if you subscribe)—both feel amazing, and hold up to whatever kind of play you’re into. Afterwards, wind down with the new Everywhere Balm ($18) with CBD and ginger, that soothes soreness and chafing, and smells like a super-high-end luxury body product.
Founder David Shanfield describes the brand as a way for him to spread his own hard-earned self-acceptance with the broader LGBT community. “Growing up gay and closeted,” he says, “I was conditioned to associate my sexuality with shame. It took a lot of work to undo that. By celebrating queer sexuality, Goodparts can help others shed that sense of shame, and know that they are worthy of love and desire.”
The jock strap has been an essential part of gay style for generations, found everywhere from the club to the beach to the bedroom. With their brand Ruxwood, designer Justin Gilbert and musician Bronze Avery bring the iconic undergarment into the modern age with elevated style and a conscious ethos.
“Being able to walk into any environment with authenticity and assurance is a transformative feeling,” the pair say in their mission statement. “We believe everyone can tap into their inner confidence and should harness that power unforgivingly.”
To that end, the Jock 01 ($34.95) offers premium materials and thoughtful design that make it feel as good to wear as it looks, whether you’re wearing it under something or on its own. Ruxwood recently expanded its line with the Brief 01 ($69.95), a beach-ready brief with a high-waisted silhouette that recalls postwar swimwear and works on bodies across the gender spectrum.
Mere Abrams is a licensed therapist and social worker who’s spent the past decade working in community-based mental health, focusing on queer and trans youth and young adults. In conversations with them and their families, Abrams says, “It would be so often that gender-affirming clothing would come up.”
Three years ago, they put what they heard (and what they’d experienced as a nonbinary person themselves) into practice, teaming up with their close friend (and fashion professional) Anna Graham to create Urbody. Unlike most “gender-neutral” clothing lines, which usually just slap the label onto garments like sweatsuits that already cross gender lines, Urbody’s activewear and undergarments are designed from the ground up to take some of the discomfort out of dressing for trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people.
The half-tank cotton compression top ($48) offers a more wearable alternative to traditional binders for slimming down silhouettes up top, while options like the compression thong ($38) make tucking easier or even unnecessary. Thanks to this tucking legging ($65), that features the compression thong built in, I was able to experience for the first time what it’s like to wear leggings in public without worrying.
Cake co-founder (and face of the brand) Mitch Orkis used to have a hard time shopping for lube. “I used to walk down the aisle of retail stores, and I found it very confusing,” he says. Product packaging focused on ingredients, not what they’re actually for, and he wasn’t ever sure he was buying the right product for the kind of sex he was having. So he had an idea: “What if we created super simple, unclear products based around different types of play?”
Cake offers a wide range of lubes with different uses on different body parts in different scenarios, including solo play, toy play, and butt play—all made out of high-quality ingredients, without any sketchy stuff—with names that take the guesswork out of choosing the right one. Tush Cush ($20) has a unique hybrid formula that makes anal easy, while the So-Low Lotion ($20) for penis play starts out as a luxurious cream before melting into a super-slick lotion that has to be felt to be believed. There’s also an entire line of affordable toys and accessories that make exploring less intimidating for people, queer or straight. “We're trying to build the most approachable sex brand on earth,” Orkis says.
Dr. Evan Goldstein founded a medical practice in New York City specifically to treat the sexual health needs of queer men, before launching Future Method to treat the issues he was commonly seeing at their source: the bedroom. “I was seeing so many patients and they all had similar issues—damage caused by improper preparation practices, sex itself, and what happens afterward,” Goldstein says. “This was primarily due to the lack of information in our culture and a serious lack of advancement in products that would help promote a healthy sex life.”
Future Method offers a range of products to make anal sex healthier and more enjoyable, including a Butt & Gut Daily Pre + Probiotic ($60) to an isotonially-balanced Intimate Wash (from $30 for a two-pack to $60 for a 12-pack) to clean up before the action. Try the Butt + Body Scrub ($35) to keep everything down there—and we mean everything—soft and smooth.
“The response from the community is what keeps us motivated each and every day,” Goldstein says. “We constantly hear from people who are bottoming for the first time because they had previously never known how to prepare, couples who have rekindled relationships with their partners in later stages of life after using our products, and so many others who simply feel proud and heard when using our products because, for once, there’s a sexual health and wellness brand that speaks to them, not at them.”
Binders are both an essential garment for many trans men and transmasc people, and also the bane of their day-to-day lives—they can be painful to wear, and looks-wise they tend to favor function over fashion. “Wellness looks different for everyone,” is one of the mottos that Chloe Freeman founded For Them on.
The brand only offers a single product: The Binder ($52), a chest-compression top that offers a more silhouette-slimming effect than a traditional sports bra. Freeman’s designs and the wide range of sizes available help users get a fit that’s not only more comfortable but also healthier. The lightweight (but heavy duty) fabric makes the Binder more wearable, and the gorgeous color palette makes it worth showing off. The brand follows through on its “Nine Dimensions of Wellness” philosophy with editorial content dedicated to the mental health and spiritual needs of gender-nonconforming people.