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Underwear belongs in the closet — humans do not. 

As I wrote this blog, seeking to accurately convey our observations of the lingerie industry relating to gender, I found it difficult to do so without being a total bummer! But, the reality is, the topic of homophobia and transphobia is a MASSIVE bummer. Unfortunately, these views are still present in our society and are very much experienced by those who identify as LGBTQIA+. So, for my final iteration on this topic, I’ve chosen to begin with the positives. The wins. The happy moments. If that’s what you’re here for, read on, you’ll get a TW half-way through. If you want reality, the nitty gritty, the hard-to-read but oh-so necessary to be aware of, read until the end.

When we began to think about the concept of Pride Month and specifically what it meant to us, you best believe it ignited some passionate opinions among the team! A team which includes and frequently works with gay, lesbian, transgender, non-binary and all people under the LGBTQIA+ rainbow, with no second thought! We love the inspiring, creative, intelligent and passionate people that we get to work with and who help us to explore and challenge heteronormative representations of ‘sexy’.

First and foremost - we believe that everyone deserves to feel sexy and secure in their physical body. For trans people, being able to experience lingerie shopping and buying underwear that affirms their gender identity is a huge step towards combating body dysphoria and finding comfort. Underwear is the foundation of any outfit, and many transgender people rely on fashion as a vital outlet to express themselves. Similarly, cisgender men, deserve the right to shop freely for lingerie that makes them feel sexy. In recent times, the fashion world has been taking small steps in this direction *applause*... Let’s take a moment and look at Harry Styles - a heterosexual cisgender male that is publicly revolutionising the way we view gender-norms in fashion. This recent Vogue article explores the idea of blurring the lines between the masculine and the feminine, and we believe that lingerie should be openly explored in the same way!  

Many of our customers have informed us that Kisskill is the only lingerie store they've encountered where they have been able to shop freely and try on lingerie. We recently received this beautiful email from a male cisgender customer that visited our Melbourne store:

“Wow, what a vibe. I’m absolutely in love with this whole Kisskill set up. I am a straight male and I love to crossdress. I love the feeling of women's clothes and wearing sexy lingerie under my male clothes. I was in your store recently and tried on the Alyssa bra. Your sales assistant was so lovely and kind to help me out. She said it was a flattering fit and boy, how much it was! I couldn’t stop thinking about it all night so I’m going to come back this week and make the purchase, along with the sexy thong. I would love nothing more than to spend a day at your store and try on every single item. What an unrealistic dream that would be to walk in as a man and walk out dressed in Kisskill, boobs, a wig and a dress. Enjoy your day!”

Here’s where it gets a little dark… (TW for those that wish to stop reading now) because people that we have met in our stores, worked with on photoshoots and met in day-to-day life, that fall into these marginalized LGBTQIA+ groups, have recounted some experiences to us that differ greatly from the experience they’ve had with Kisskill. Experiences that range from from less-than-comfortable to downright discriminatory. 

Enter, Victoria’s Secret:

 “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy”  This is a direct quote from Ed Razek, former Chief Marketing Officer of Victoria’s Secret given in an interview with Vogue in 2018. He was responding to a question regarding casting transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. This statement is representative of some deeply problematic views that are still commonly held in society relating to gay and transgender representation and on the flip-side - discrimination. 

A scenario we’ve heard about first-hand, that hits closest to home for us, is the lingerie shopping and fitting room experience. Something that can be daunting at the best of times even for cisgender women! Add the extra layer of transphobia and homophobia and we’re playing an entirely different ballgame. It can be an uncomfortable experience for a trans woman to even step foot into a lingerie store without the fear that they could be made to feel uncomfortable or even asked to leave (yes, this happens). In a world where gay and trans rights are still being debated these concerns are unfortunately, justified.

We’ve seen it for ourselves. A customer enters our store, hesitantly browsing delicate lace and silk lingerie, afraid to even touch our pick up items they’re interested in. Visiting the fitting room? Something that seems almost out of the question. The level of discomfort can be spotted a mile away, evident in the way their breathing quickens and they become jittery and anxious. We make it a priority to never identify or name a person's gender unless they make us aware of it first. When they do, it becomes paramount that that person is made to feel completely comfortable and, as with any customer, is assisted in finding what they came to the store for - something to help them feel sexy in their own skin!

Having dressed everyone from male and female identifying to non-binary, we have seen that it IS possible for everyone to be able to have a safe, positive and SEXY lingerie shopping experience. Where to from here? To make that experience a commodity, not a rarity.

Pictured: Will as ‘Dystopia’ and Zander as ‘Velaska’ wearing Kisskill Addict body harness and Serena Diamante Dress

 

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