Sock Drawer Heroes trans business
Photo: Nicola Bailey.
National, News

Trans-owned business supplying free gender products to community

A Sydney couple’s small business is helping trans and gender diverse people access essential products such as binders, packers, and tucking gaffs at no cost.

Erin and Bec launched Sock Drawer Heroes part-time from their apartment in 2018, and the business has grown to supply a range of gender expression products to people around the world.

Erin said the pair started the business to help make such items more accessible to people in Australia and New Zealand, who otherwise must often order them from overseas at great expense.

The store now stocks everything from binders and packers to dilators and lingerie for trans bodies, as well as a small selection of queer and trans sex toys.

“In starting Sock Drawer Heroes, our goal was to make these gender expression products financially accessible, but we also recognised that some people in our community would still face financial barriers,” said Erin.

Donation programs

Sock Drawer Heroes has established a Binder Donation Program, where people can donate their old chest binders to be redistributed to those in need.

The Pay it Forward Program allows people to donate money to cover the cost price of items such as new binders, packers, and gaffs that are supplied free to people in Australia and New Zealand.

People who are interested in either donating to the programs or applying to receive assistance through them can do so on the website.

“We didn’t start this for ourselves – we started it for the community,” said Erin.

“We’re excited to be helping provide affordable affirming products to the trans and gender diverse community,” Bec added.

The business prioritises LGBTQ- and particularly trans-owned companies as suppliers, helping to ensure that profits stay in the community.

Erin said the volume of orders has increased hugely over time, growing from word of mouth and social media alone.

Everyday necessities

They said the store has filled a gap in the Australian market, where gender expression products had been hard to come by – something Erin experienced personally in their transition.

“We had noticed that some items were being sold here in places like adult stores that had a mark-up as if they were luxury items,” said Erin.

“We see these products as a necessity for people’s everyday lives.

“The general public are only just getting their heads around a lot of trans and gender diversity issues, and it’s hard to explain to someone [cis] what a binder or gaff or packer means for them and their lives.”

Erin said that they and Bec are often contacted by people with stories of how their products have made a positive difference, or with requests for help, including from parents of young trans people.

They shared a story of one young trans man who was mortified by how enthusiastic his mother was about helping him select a packer at a Sock Drawer Heroes event stall.

“We sell [circumcised and uncircumcised] packers,” Erin explained.

“The mother said to her son: ‘Do you want to be like your brothers or like your dad?’

“It could have been a parent embarrassing their kid about anything… it was just beautiful.”

Sock Drawer Heroes has also worked with community groups to supply resources to diverse groups of trans people.

“Being part of something that helps affirm people’s identities and lives makes all the hard work worth it,” Bec said.

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