This is how a gender reveal meme inspired a charity that gives cash-strapped trans teens free clothing


The dilemma of buying an entirely new wardrobe from scratch is one trans people are familiar with – but a new clothing exchange charity in Ohio has got it covered.

Transform is a non-profit organisation run from the back of a bridal shop in Cincinnati. The store gives transgender teens the opportunity to swap their old clothing in exchange for a wardrobe that better fits their new identity.

The clever clothing exchange started with a single tweet from a trans woman. “I think trans people should get thrown transition showers like brides and pregnant people get,” she said.

“All your friends come over to celebrate this big moment in your life, gift you things you’ll need to start living your true gender, and just have a big party. Can we make that a thing?”

So three Cincinnati residents made it a thing.

“I posted [this meme] and was like, this is way too real with all of our kiddos,” Tristan Vaught of Cincinnati’s Transgender Health Clinic told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

It sparked a conversation that brought them together with Marissa Fine, a trans woman, and Nancy Dawson, mother of a transgender daughter and owner of the bridal shop the charity now operates from.

Together the three LGBT+ advocates saw a need that had a simple solution – a clothing exchange specifically for transgender youths, the first of its kind.

“Can you imagine you’re buying a wardrobe for a child at the beginning of school? It’s already tight with money and then they transition and you want to support them, but you’re like we don’t have the money,” they said.

“What I’ve found working with support groups and some of the youth is that individuals in transition and parents want to support, but they are stuck.

“They just bought clothes for the entire school year. They’re already strapped for cash. What do they do to support their kid? This way they can come in and get a new outfit.”


View this post on Instagram


We have been getting some AMAZING homecoming and special event dresses and jumpsuits! Have old homecoming outfits you don’t want? Bring them in! Donation times are always updated on our Facebook, or you can send a DM! Need a homecoming outfit? Message us or fill out the form for a closet appointment in our bio! We could really use some nice shirts and pants for boys 🙂 Have old formal wear you don’t want? Bring it in! Or just any clothes! We are taking EVERYTHING right now! Any good clothes that are unwanted help us out a ton! We are so excited to start serving clients with these 🙂 • • • #transform #transformcincy #transgender #lgbt #trans #closet #charity #charitycloset #recycling #endfastfashion #thrift #thrifting

A post shared by Transform Closet (@transformcincy) on

Those who visit Transform can trade in old unwanted clothes and find a new style, or take the clothes for free if they’re unable to donate.

It’s a vital opportunity for trans teenagers to try on clothing and form their own style identity in a supportive, friendly environment – and they’ll soon be recruiting other trans teenagers from the community to offer fashion advice.

“When trans kids come in, they get to see themselves,” Vaught said. “We’ll have adults here obviously, it’s not going to be a free-for-all, but that way we can have them come in and help with style.”

Transform has been overwhelmed by the community support, but they’re still accepting donations of clothes for children ages 4 and older for clothing, jewellery, accessories, shoes, especially women’s sizes 10 and above, as well as unopened underwear and makeup.

“Oftentimes, they say clothes don’t make the man,” Vaught said. “But they make the man feel a lot more comfortable.”