Meet Mel: GenderWear SA’s New Owner

28 June 2024

You may have noticed that GenderWear SA is under new ownership! Take a few minutes to get to know Mel and their journey of affirming their trans-masculine, non-binary identity.

Having been raised in a relatively conservative and religious environment, Mel struggled to come to terms with and express their gender identity. Mel always knew they preferred to present more masculine, and as a child, was more interested in “boys stuff” but knew they didn’t quite want to fully be a boy (ie. fully transition and use he/him pronouns). It was through seeing trans and non-binary folk on shows such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, We’re Here, and Mae Martin’s Feel Good that Mel came to understand their gender identity in their mid-twenties.

Upon finding the terms and community that Mel felt truly reflected their identity, a journey ensued to present to the world the person they always felt they were inside. While they had slowly started presenting more masculine, there were still things that were not quite right. Their chest and voice were particular points of discomfort. It was through following content creators such as Jamie Raines, Ty Turner, Jordyn Pollack, Cody Harman and Em Donkers that Mel realised there were people out there who identified as either trans-masculine, non-binary, or both and who received HRT and top surgery. Other inspirational figures include trans actor Laith Ashley, comedian Jes Tom, YouTubers Natalie Wynn (more widely known as ContraPoints) and Abigail Thorn (PhilosophyTube), actresses Jamie Clayton (The L Word) and Laverne Cox, to name a few. As is the case with proper representation, Mel finally felt the relief one feels when one finally has the words to describe how one has always felt.

In late 2022, Mel had their first appointment with a trans-affirming doctor in Cape Town and began the process of Hormone Replacement Therapy. Each change brought about a wave of excitement - the first signs of facial hair and a lower voice were particularly big moments. Mel then came across GenderWear SA and decided to purchase their first binder. Each of these moments were transformative, both inside and out.

Like many of the best things in life, the purchase of GenderWear SA came completely unexpectedly. While being fitted for their first binder, Mel struck up a conversation with the company’s previous owner and creator, Cara Pearson. Cara mentioned her intentions to sell the business which caught Mel’s attention. They then spent the drive home thinking about the exciting potential to serve the gender diverse community in such a meaningful way.

You may have seen that our website looks a little different. This is the first of many exciting developments to come! We now have a WhatsApp Business Profile where you can find our full catalogue and place orders through WhatsApp. We also have few more exciting things that will be announced very soon, so keep an eye out on our Instagram page!

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