Every year seems to bring with it a drastic increase in the number of trans people living their lives openly around their friends, families and coworkers.
If 2016 has revealed to you a new transgender friend or relative, it might be tough to decide what your first symbolic gift should be. Or maybe they’ve been out for a long time, and this year you’re feeling the need to make it special.
While it’s pretty safe to bet that you already know your friend well enough — after all, it’s unlikely they’ve lost their passion for gardening, video games, or that classic television series just because they’re going by new pronouns — a gift that shows support towards someone’s transition can be a deeply meaningful symbol.
Unfortunately, the number of local businesses that sport merchandise specific to trans people are still few and far between. That means some of the best goodies are often found online. But if you can’t wait for shipping, don’t despair! Even masculine or feminine hygiene and makeup products can make a big statement. (I’ll never forget the ‘Guess’ Cologne that a fellow cashier bought me when I came out as a trans man.)
Before you look through this list, don’t forget to consider where you’ll be giving that special person your surprise. If you plan to watch them unwrap your gift in front of their unsupportive family members, it might be better to deliver it to them privately… or just stick to a gift card from Target.
For the luscious heart and soul:
‘Geometricolor Palette Blockbuster’ by Sephora
$49.50 ($227.00 value)
In-store and online at Sephora.com
I may have sworn off makeup, but even a guy like me can’t help but drool at the range of shades in this vast palette of matte, satin and shimmer finish eye shadows. The set contains 80 eye shadows, 32 lip glosses, 6 cream eyeliners, 4 brow powders, 4 brushes, and two tutorial cards — especially helpful for anyone who’s waited their whole life to master the art of natural eyes and contouring.
For the out-and-proud activist:
‘Transgender Pride Flag Hoodie’ by felihonda on Paom.com
The weather’s getting colder, and politics are heating up. Dress your friend for success as they lead the transgender community forward! This sweatshirt is printed with the trans flag and comes in a range of sizes. All apparel is made to order and takes about three weeks before it’s ready to ship, so to avoid any issues it would be wise to ask for your friend’s size ahead of time and order within the next week.
For the young and curious:
‘Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen’ by Arin Andrews<p? Simon and Schuster Publishing
$9.77 on Amazon.com
When someone is just coming out as trans or has begun to consider it, nothing is more powerful than the realization that they’re not alone. Although this widely-acclaimed memoir was published in 2015, it delves into seventeen-year-old Arin Andrews’ transition during the already rough years of high school. Witty, touching and most importantly relatable, this book is bound to touch youths for years to come.
For the trans guy learning how to shave:
‘The Woody Shave Set’ by The Detroit Grooming Company
A down side of hitting puberty late is that you don’t have high school to practice hacking at your stubble with your dad’s straight-edge. Give your trans male friend the experience he’s always wanted with a complete old-fashioned shaving kit that includes a stylish safety razor and five extra blades, hydrating shave gel, a soothing aftershave lotion, and a bar of Himalaya and shea butter soap.