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Hot transmasc summer

May 15, 2024

Hot transmasc summer

Finnegan Shepard

How summer went from something I dreaded to something I looked forward to.

Before transitioning, I hated the summer. It was hot and sticky, and I felt much less in control of my body, because I wasn’t able to layer clothing in a way that made me feel more comfortable. I was conscious that my bra might show, conscious that clothing would cling to my hips. Swimming, in particular, was a challenge. As I have spent years interviewing folks in the community, I have come to realize that this is a very common experience for trans men, transmasc, enby, and gender non conforming people. Whether or not we like hot weather by itself (or the activities that come with it), there is a general unease and discomfort with how we fit into it. The body is more of an aggressive presence in the summer; for me personally, back when I felt more dissociated from my body, that created a lot of mental dissonance. I was constantly being put in touch with something that didn’t feel accurate.

This has changed a lot for me throughout my process of medically transitioning. It has also changed based on the clothing I wear, and the spaces or communities I intentionally surround myself with. This isn’t so much a prescriptive blog as a narrative account of how my experience of the summer has radically changed throughout transition.


Top Surgery and the Summer

transmasc model posing topless, with surgery scars

Without a doubt, the biggest shift in my relationship to the summer months came when I had top surgery. To go from feeling incredibly uncomfortable with my chest to feeling euphoric poncing about topless is about as extremely polarized as it is possible to be. I am not unusual in this–many of the trans men I know and have spoken to feel the same way. Being topless is both freeing physically, and also mentally/psychologically–for many of us, it represents a kind of ultimate maleness, an arrival at a gender expression that feels profoundly true and empowering. It is also sadly the case that in most places, being topless when you have breasts is societally/culturally/legally frowned upon. To this day, I don’t know if the euphoria would have been as extreme if I hadn’t grown up under this rule, and unfortunately I’ll never know. I also want to acknowledge how privileged I am to have received top surgery. Many folks are on waiting lists or saving up for years and years in a healthcare system that does everything it can to bar us from care. That being said, it would have also felt disingenuous to not talk about top surgery as a large part of what has shifted my relationship to summer. I can still remember the feeling of that first summer, laying out in the yard with the sun on my skin, feeling a rightness with my body that I had never felt to that degree before.


Empowering Spaces

While I wanted to start at the top by acknowledging how top surgery has made me comfortable far more of the time, in far more spaces, I also want to emphasize how important it is to seek out affirming spaces, wherever you are on your gender journey. We live in an age with more and more intentionally queer spaces, spaces in which you can be topless, you can express your gender identity in whatever way feels right to you, and be surrounded by folks that make you feel seen and validated. That is a beautiful, wonderful thing to be cherished and nourished. The spaces that are doing this are unique to whatever area you live in (and of course, are in higher and higher concentration in liberal urban hubs which means access for folks in the areas that most need it is limited). I know that for me, growing up in the 90s in a liberal area that did not have the language/framework for transness yet, I turned to nature as the core space to feel free in. I didn’t like swimming at public pools, where I was forced to wear ‘socially appropriate’ swimming gear, but I did love stripping down at lakes or rivers far off in the wilderness. There was both a privacy there and also a feeling of universality–that nature doesn’t give a fuck, that we are all ultimately the same.


Affirming Summer Clothing for Trans and Nonbinary Folks

Starting Both& was honestly inspired by how miserable I was with clothing options in the summer. In the winter I could kind of get away with stuff that ‘sort of’ worked, but in the summer I felt stripped down to terrible options. The problem as a trans man or transmasc person is that men’s clothing doesn’t fit right, is clingy, and tends to emphasize the exact areas that cause the most dysphoria. Below is a list of the all-time favorite hits that help make the summer months and empowering, hot transmasc summer:


Transmasc model Azekai in black romeo tank

The Romeo. This is the ultimate muscle tank for all you mascs. Made in a medium weight, super soft cotton that feels great but does not cling, this tank covers binder/bra lines, has extra room around the hips, but creates a nice square, masc silhouette.


Transmasc model Ki in grey Romeo tank and black denim Ki shorts

The Ki. The Kis are our classic denim short. Now you can have a denim short that doesn’t pinch at the waist, hips, bum, or thighs, but also actually fits. Made in a high quality denim with deep front pockets, these sell out every time we release them.


Transmasc model in hunter green Romeo swim tank top and Elliot swim trunks

Elliot swim trunks and Romeo swim tank. Part of the joy of a good swimsuit is that you feel cool in it. We were tired of seeing the same pride-oriented swim gear year in year out, and decided to make a stylish, vintage inspired swim set that folks love to wear in and out of the water. It has all the functionality and comfort you need, in a lightweight, super stretchy fabric.


Model Vas in black tank top and grey acid wash Yuri cargo shorts

The Yuri. Want to throw in a dash of style? These cargos were a community request, and have the perfect slouchy masc look. They come in a high quality denim in an acid wash gray. Limited edition capsule only.


Transmasc model in white Finnegan tee and black pants

The Finnegan. Our all time best seller for a reason. This is your every day tee that you can wear, literally, every day. Made in the same medium weight cotton as the Romeo, this tee hugs the shoulders and emphasizes muscle, while creating a clean, euphoric, rectangular shape.