© Michiko Chiyoda

Collaboration Project:The Development of Comfortable Underwear for the Transgender Community

August 24, 2019

In 2017, a private Japanese market research firm reported that the LGBT population in Japan was 8% or about 10 million and that the transgender population was 0.8% or about 1 million of the total population of 126.8 million.
Recently, I have become aware of and instantly interested in the fact that the serious development of comfortable underwear for transgender people has not been properly addressed, even in Japan. 

 

I read an article about the development of underwear for transgender people, and for the first time, I could become to imagine how much they hate their own bodies to the extent of parasuicide and the overwhelming emotion that must be felt each month when reminded of having a female body by menstruation and having to use women’s underwear due to there being no appropriate alternative. 

 

Underwear is intensely personal and has important direct contact with our skin, yet, there is no underwear that is specifically designed for the transgender community with adjustments that account for their bodies and feelings. I have thus come to understand their silent suffering. 

My interviewee, Ms. Kate, who is a member of the transgender community, has taken it upon herself to develop underwear that has been precisely created based on input regarding the needs and opinions of the transgender community.


This April, a range of the products were premiered by transgender people on the stage of an event entitled "Tulip Day", which was planned by Ms. Kate herself for the sake of normalizing the rights of transgender people. I also attended the event and enjoying seeing all the models wearing the underwear looking so comfortable and confident, challenging stereotypes and looking toward a bright future. 

 

Just like the advent of revolutionary sanitary products, which broke down taboos and released women from social exclusion, has improved women’s daily lives no end, I sincerely hope that the underwear will help to shine a light on the daily lives of the transgender community, who have suffered from clothing constraints and the resulting negative feelings.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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