A Genderplayful Marketplace: Do you want it?

Update! We’re over here now: http://genderplayful.tumblr.com


Hello Gorgeous Genderforkers!

This is Sarah Dopp, your humble Genderfork founder, and I want to run an idea by you.

I’d like to start a new project: a genderplayful, body-positive, fashion-savvy online marketplace. This would be a space where people sell to each other (like Ebay and Etsy), with a focused emphasis on solving all of our wardrobe problems. Together.

We’d pull in a mix of indie clothing designers, body-savvy tailors for custom alterations, small business clothing shops, crafters, and folks who want to share things from their closet. All with a celebratory and problem-solving emphasis on creating clothes that fit our genders, styles, and bodies.

Allow me to elaborate on this (while naked):

Sounding like a good idea so far? Do you want it? Do your toes start tingling when you think about this, like mine are right now?

If so, then here’s how this can play out. I have the management, web development, and community-building skills to make this happen. What I don’t have yet are the time or the money (well, really just the money, since money buys time). But I have a plan to get them: a public fundraiser, plus a loan from my family.

The key to securing those funds is being able to prove that this project is important. That’s where I need your help.

If you want this project to happen, there are three powerful, important, super-helpful things you can do right now to push it forward:

1) Make a video of yourself telling a camera why this is so important. This will have a HUGE impact on the public fundraising. If I can edit together a collage video showing many people asking for this, you know it will hit home. (More info on how to get your video to me is over here.)

2) Write out why this matters to you. Explain it to the outside world: why does this need to happen? You can leave it as a comment below, or send it in an email to genderplayful@gmail.com, and I will use your stories to make a stronger case for the project.

3) Get someone else to help. If you know someone who is comfortable in front of a camera, please personally appeal to them to make a short video for this. If you have a blog and you know your readers would love this project, please ask them to step up and share their stories. If you have a friend who absolutely needs this to happen, make sure they know it’s in the works, and how they can help.

I’m seriously excited about this. I’ve been working on the plan for a year, and it’s time to swing it into motion. But it (really, seriously) won’t happen unless I can prove that you need it, so it’s time to get noisy about the idea. Let’s show ’em all how it is.

Thank you so much for all your support.

Lots of love,

p.s. The Genderfork staff and I have agreed that this should be a separate project from Genderfork. Genderfork will stay the same.

Posted by on December 5th, 2010 at 11:44 am

Category: requests 60 comments »

60 Responses to “A Genderplayful Marketplace: Do you want it?”

  1. Lovisa

    I’M ON IT. Will try to phrase that in a more eloquent way sometime soon.


  2. Samson

    Toes: definitely tingling.


  3. Thomas

    OMG this is awesome. Not only am I working on how to phrase what I’d like to see in clothing, I’m also passing this on to everyone I can think of who might also find a site such as this helpful. And everyone who would be supportive of a site such as this. *squee*


  4. Riam

    This is going to be AWESOME.


  5. Milo

    Wow! Sarah, yes, you are incredible.


  6. Dayl

    I need shirts that really work with a binder. And no place online ever says “shirt made for use with binder”. So I can never tell until I buy it and it doesn’t work. A place like this would be amazing!


  7. Beck/Oliver

    This idea is so exciting!
    I don’t have much in the way of film or editing software but I have mad writing skillz so I’ll type up a little something for you.
    Can we write more than a paragraph? The reasons why I need this site to exist are longer than a paragraph.
    If I can’t, it will be an enthusiastically long paragraph. :)


  8. Sarah Dopp

    THANK YOU everyone! This is wonderful support.

    And Beck/Oliver, GO FOR IT! Write your heart out! I will love it.


  9. Jay

    LOVE this idea! Like you say in the video, I can’t count all the times I’ve wandered through the mall and come back out thoroughly disheartened and annoyed because I can’t find clothing that looks right – and the clothing that does, doesn’t *fit* right! Argh. Will probably try for more coherency later on but for now just want to say: AWESOME idea!


  10. Anonymous

    So excited for this idea! I’ll try and write up a quick little bit for you!


  11. Ninalyn

    Got linked here by a friend and am SO ALL OVER THIS.

    Why would something like this appeal to me? Easy: I’m a curvy girl (physically). There’s just no getting around that. I’m so big-chested I can’t even bind flat, and I’ve TRIED (bound to the point I can’t breathe I still look like I’m roughly a B-cup). And I’m sick and tired of having to buy my (female or unisex only–no male dress shirts will fit me) clothes in an XXL when I’m a medium so the message I’m sending to the entire world isn’t “OHMAHGAWD, BOOBS!!”

    I’d love a place where I could find clothes I’d like that don’t make me look like a hobo (both male and female), where I could get a suit to fit my shape, and where my shirts and skirts don’t have to come from the maternity section to accommodate my way too generous T&A. It’d be like Plato’s Closet, only better.

    I’m tired of having to pre-stretch my clothes and shop secondhand-only so I don’t have to explain to the dressing-room clerk that no, I’m not “due” anytime soon, I’m not pregnant, and no, that pair of jeans is not for my brother/boyfriend/husband (and yes, I know it’s from the guys’ section, that’s the point, thanks).

    I’m all for it.


    jomore replied:

    ditto and well said


  12. Anonymous

    Ninalyn, you just about summed it up! :)


  13. beelisty

    Amazing. Spreading the word.


  14. Timi

    OMG I was just ranting about this earlier. We humans have a full range of colors and styles that appeal to us all individually but somewhere in our history the hegemony divvied up the colors and assigned them as ‘male’ and ‘female’.

    Here is an example of a genetic male androgyne shopping experience:
    Go into any department store and look for clothes in the mens section, and you will find the following colors: beige, brown, gray, black, and navy blue. If you’re lucky you’ll find some red, forest greens, or maybe even a colorful hawaiian shirt. The only place you’ll ever find a sense of color is in mens dress shirts, but they all of the same cut, and usually are solids or pinstriped if you’re lucky – no scoop neck, V-neck, or something innovative and fun. If you want teal trousers or a paisley patterned shirt then you’re out of luck. Also, the men’s clothing isn’t fitted – it’s meant to fit baggy and not show off your figure. Fitted shirts or slacks are a rarity for men in department stores.

    So you go shop in the womens’ section and find the color and pattern you’ve been looking for. But the sizes aren’t big enough, the tail of the shirt is too short to tuck into your pants, the darts in the shirt are useless on your flat chest. The trousers would look cute on you, but don’t fit right around the hips, so you find a pair that does, but the pant cuffs are too short and barely cover your ankles.

    I think there is a niche market for genderqueer fasion – the only other option I see is to break out my sewing machine and spend all of my free time making my own clothes, and I’m not that good at it anyway.

    Love your idea! Definitely interested.


  15. Anonymous

    I am attempting to spread it around on Facebook. Hopefully it will get somewhere… you really need to make a page for this, honestly.


  16. Ronen

    Dress shirts with buttons on the “men’s” side and without “boob lines” that are small enough for me to look good in and don’t cost as much as American Apparel! =D

    Yes please.


    Samson replied:



    Keanan replied:

    Aye. I recently found Gap’s XS men’s shirts. They fit well and aren’t tightly fitted or have unwanted lines.

    I will do my best to get this project kicked off. This sounds really awesome.


    Ronen replied:

    I absolutely loathe those lines.


    Kat replied:

    Indeed, when I want to wear a button-up I want to look MASCULINE, dammit! I could care less about the buttons, but those boob lines… >.<

    Kat replied:

    YIKES, autocomplete stuck my name in there! *blushes furiously for not checking it first*

    It would be awesome if someone could fix that?

    Sarah Dopp replied:


  17. Jude

    This sounds brilliant. I sometimes find great, interestingly-fitting things either at thrift shops or things that come through my family’s antique/resale shop. If they don’t fit me, I always want to pass them along to someone else, but I never know how to do that.


  18. Milo

    @Everyone, but especially Timi: I completely agree. I (bio-male) can usually fit into women’s pants thanks to the fact that I have a long torso and fairly short legs. However, I still have troubles with shirts. It is terrible. They are never fitted and I feel like I’m walking around in bags. I have a feminine face and am very small boned, all of which I love, but unless I can tailor my shirts (which I don’t really have time for, nor can I sew well) I’m out of luck :(

    I suppose I ought to make a video on this. I’ll get on that in the next couple of days hopefully, but I agree that this really needs to happen. I’m not even all that into cross dressing (though it can be really fun at times) but even dressing androgynous can at times be a pain. Lack of colors and properly fitted things sucks!


  19. jean c.

    this sounds cool and potentially super-useful, but it seems like the thing people are really looking for is *fit* — to their own standards, body, self-image, & taste.

    … and, how can you judge how something fits you (in all those ways) unless you try it on? then what do you do if the thing you bought doesn’t fit you the way you want it to? this is the pitfall with internet clothes-buying in general, methinks…

    maybe one feature that the marketplace site could have is some function that facilitates really easy returns, refunds, and exchanges!


  20. Max

    Jean C., I see your point about fit, but I bought quite a few items of clothing online when I was still dressing in a way that “matched” my assigned sex and although it can be a little frustrating, usually there are measurements you can check and frankly when you know the item is structured for your body type, it makes a world of difference.

    Personally, as a veeeeery small genderqueer trans-ish boi (I’m 5’0″ and less than 100 lbs) this site would be, quite possibly, the best thing ever.


  21. Peter

    What a brilliant idea! Go gettum!


  22. Nikki

    well, I love this idea! I know too many transwomen who can’t find a pretty dress because of a broad chest, or girl jeans for their height, or heels that fit. added in advice and opinions from people experiencing the same difficulties. WONdERFul! I’m spreading the word around the lgbt community in my college!!


    Nikki replied:

    of course there is much more this would help others with. I just listed what was close to home for me :)


  23. DMc

    I’d like fashionable clothes that fit my frame. I’ve been biologically male all my 30 years but don’t always want to present that way. I shop both in-person and online. When I visit stores, the selection is often too limited and when buying online, I can never predict how something will actually fit me. I’d appreciate and solicit a business that understood my concerns.


  24. Anja Flower

    Toes! Tinglin’! Fingers too!

    Priorities, in no particular order:

    -SIZES that work not only for different heights and girths of bodies, but different secondary sex characteristics and body features (big boobs/small boobs or big pecs/no boobs; big arms or hands/small arms or hands, wide/narrow shoulders or neck, etc.). This would include ADJUSTABLE items and FLEXIBLE or stretch materials.

    -All items, whether butch, femme, andro or other, made on the assumption that anyone of any body might want to wear them.

    -STYLES that work gracefully with genderfuck presentation; matching neck tie and hair bow, for example, or coordinated formal-ish vest and formal-ish skirt.

    -AFFORDABLE items!

    -Jeezus, large-sized femme SHOES that don’t suck!

    -TRADING or second-hand selling, maybe?

    -HUMANE production practices, including for materials? I know this can conflict with affordability, arrrgh.

    -Items that can be easily CUSTOMIZED by the customer with rudimentary sewing skills and supplies and some basic instructions

    -CROWD-SOURCED product ideas!

    Bla bla bla!


  25. Anja Flower

    Oh, and I know this is a tall order, but – good, affordable androgynous formalwear for different body types!


  26. Nikolai

    This would be really helpful. I’m short and have wide hips, so finding pants that fit right is a pain. I also need men’s size 4 shoes, which are practically impossible to find outside of Converse. And I’m sure someone could figure out subtle tailoring/patterning that could minimise curves.

    Plus, for all those who have a phobia of shopping in their preferred section, let alone use those changing rooms, this would be amazing.


  27. Sarah Dopp

    Hey Everyone,

    I just created form that lets you express interest, tell me what you need, and sign up to keep hearing about the project. Head on over to…





  28. jamie


    this sounds like a great and worthwhile idea on a certain level, but i just want to take a minute to point out who it excludes. the basic premise – “This would be a space where people sell to each other (like Ebay and Etsy)” – necessarily excludes low-income/no income/poor people. so as i understand the project now, i would instead give me support to genderqueer projects that also have an economic justice angle.

    right now 97% of trans folks (like me) report harassment at work and 25% have been fired because of our gender. the unemployment rate amongst gender benders is several times that of everyone else and we are often denied access to affordable housing, healthcare and other necessities.

    for me — and i suspect, for tons of other people too – this means that while i’m sure i’d be super interested in browsing this online space, i almost surely wouldn’t buy anything. i get most of my clothes for free or super cheap because economically i don’t have any other option.

    of course, there’s only so much my friends, free real-life space, and thrift stores have to offer, which is why i think if this project also served as a sort of clothing exchange (say where the only cost to be paid was shipping b/t trading partners if necessary), in addition to a marketplace for those who are able to pay – i’d be extremely likely to use it and probably even chip in some bucks.

    so bottom line – please keep in mind that economic justice is not separate from gender justice. :-)


    Sarah Dopp replied:

    Hi Jamie,

    Thank you for these points — they’re absolutely true.

    I’ve heard a number of other people point out the need for a shipping-costs-only exchange program. And a handful of people I know, including the founder of Scarleteen.com, have been bouncing around ideas on how to set up need-based free hand-me-down clothing services for trans folks (especially youth).

    Short answer: yes, I want to support these ideas.

    Complex answer: the marketplace plan is already bigger and more expensive than I can handle myself, so I’ll need organizing partners who can lead these efforts if we want to make them happen early on. So if you know anyone who’d be a good candidate (yourself included), please let me know. :)



    Sarah Dopp replied:

    Thinking more about this… what if vendors had

    a) the ability to designate that they’re open to an exchange for an item, and

    b) an alternate “checkout” process that serves as a negotiation for an exchange with another vendor?

    It would take extra programming to get there (the software i have is just standard e-commerce, extended for a marketplace setup), but damn. that would be pretty awesome.

    will keep thinking. thanks.



    ifearthenight replied:

    If you are using Ubercart there is a module for free items (http://drupal.org/project/uc_free_order) so you can potentially use that for exchanges or alternatively there is a module for discount coupons (http://drupal.org/project/uc_coupon) which you could look into using too.

    If you aren’t using Ubercart Marketplace, then maybe you should consider it. I’ve started working on a project using it and it’s really powerful and very easy to set up.


    Sarah Dopp replied:

    Thanks, I hadn’t looked at ubercart yet. The main super-important feature our foundational software needs is the ability to support a marketplace of many sellers, each managing their own stores. I don’t see anything about that feature in Ubercart’s promo materials. Do you know of anyone who’s using it that way?

    ifearthenight replied:

    Yep, I’m using it for a marketplace purpose using the aptly named “Marketplace” module (http://drupal.org/project/marketplace)

    You can check out someone’s website where they have implemented ubercart marketplace for an etsy like store http://www.cargoh.com

    One potential problem is that the store takes all the payments and then pays out the sellers, rather than the sellers taking the payment. BUT this means people can buy multiple things from multiple payers at once.

    Hope that helps.

    Sarah Dopp replied:

    that’s VERY helpful — thanks!

    Vicky replied:

    A simple possible solution is to allow craftspeople to upload .pdf files of their patterns/designs/schematics/etc. so that whomever would like to make these things themselves on a shoestring budget can simply download the file for free or donation! This way, not only do they get free ideas and patterns, they also get the satisfaction that comes from making their own items with tender loving care. Being someone with a VERY limited income and a tight budget, I think that if this were a service that was offered, I would definitely give as much of my patronage as possible to the site, and would contribute as much materiel as possible.


    Vicky replied:

    Crap. I posted this reply just before seeing franc’s comment below. So, I suppose I should tell franc that I support him/her/zim wholeheartedly, but believe that the idea can be expanded.


  29. Anonymous

    All these comments and posts in general just get me to thinking it’d be super rad to have a Genderfork conference/gathering….just saying.


    Sarah Dopp replied:

    oh god yes.

    (but see jamie’s post above for economic factor. even just getting the volunteers in one room is cost prohibitive. but we can dream.)


  30. franc

    this idea is very interesting, and the enthusiasm is inspiring.
    I am a firm believer in collective organising and while I see the internet as a vital connection point for marginalised people like us trans and genderqueers, I see real value in setting up on-the-ground exchanges etc. I have in the past helped to organise freemarkets for Buy Nothing Day in australia and scotland, I help with a large regular free-shop event. I know there are items like large-size femme shoes etc that don’t appear in freemarkets (cos those of us with unusual sizes tend to wear our precious things until they fall apart) but can’t stress the value of free exchanges enough.
    Alongside free markets you can organise skill-shares, or pay a tailor (this is expensive – largely because they don’t work out of sweatshops in majority-world countries – but rewarding).
    Or maybe, as part of this website there could be an exchange section somewhat like Instructables, for our own patterns and ideas.
    However, I can hardly get email to work let alone build websites so that will have to be taken up by a talented web-person. until then – collective, damnit!
    xx x x


  31. Mike

    This sounds really, really brilliant. I know a lot of people have mentioned fit, but to me just a place that is capable of giving suitable measurements to all body shapes for the type of clothes I want is a boon. For example a lot of men’s shirts I like go by collar size, which doesn’t help when one has a broad shoulders and an overlarge chest to consider, but a relatively small neck and I have never seen a shirt for sale that also includes sleeve length (male or female) which, having short arms, can be an issue with either ‘gender’ clothes. I just love the idea of having something made without the binary male or female targets- clothes and shoes that could be in any and inbetween styles without assumptions about the shape of the person who wants to wear them. It’s taken me YEARS to get a single pair of brogues to fit size 5 1/2- 6 feet, for example and I still can’t really find clothes for work that look ‘blousey’ enough to fit in, but at the same time not feminine- it is a constant battle against low necked items, particularly as I can’t sew to even consider fixing anything up myself!

    I love the idea, too, of potentially being able to get clothes and stuff I actually would like to wear. If any stores branch out into the waistcoat and high-collar world then I’m sure to give things a go! :)


  32. Anonymous

    I love wearing clothes that I think look good and that I feel comfortable in, but finding those type of clothes in a long process that I’m rarely up to. Trying on clothes in the mall often trigger feelings of depression and dysphoria when the clothes don’t fit me like the male I see in my head but instead emphasize my female body. If this online marketplace happened, it would be beautiful — I don’t know how else to put it. The idea of a community of people with the same problems as me helping each other out, buying spiffy clothes that I actually feel comfortable in — sounds like a dream come true.


  33. Anonymous

    In reply to Sarah and Franc (29/30) and the general thread…

    What about a general Genderfork gathering (not necessarily marketplace)? There’s “guerrilla queer bar” in many cities. Perhaps we could “Genderfork” locations like city parks and just chill together for an afternoon?

    Lol, im just dreaming but…


    Vicky replied:

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!


    Samson replied:



    Sarah Dopp replied:

    You guys are awesome.

    I’ll be honest: i have zero bandwidth to organize in-person stuff right now.

    But if other folks wanted to start organizing these, I’d be happy to talk to you about it, help you plan, and have your back.

    tigr replied:

    It’d be great if there were some way to find genderforkers who’d like to/be able to meet in, say, London, or just the UK [sometimes smaller&central might be more convenient than big but far away for most, and you’d need to know where people live] and get in touch with each other without actually having to disclose your location or identity (e.g. e-mail address) to the general public!… something like moderated comments, with a sharing of the submitted e-mail addresses with just the people who actually submitted or so?

    Samson replied:

    @tigr: That really seems like it should be possible!

    I’ll have some time in the next month to work on starting something like this, but I couldn’t keep it up by myself over time. Um… okay, gee, I’m not sure where to start, but I’ll be pondering, and does anybody else foresee wanting to / being able to help? Maybe we should hold off on being crazy about it ’til after the marketplace takes off. (WHEN, NOT IF, BECAUSE IT WILL)

  34. Anonymous

    This is a beautiful idea and I will try to get the word out. I know there’s a lot of people out there (including friends) that could seriously benefit from this <3


  35. tigr

    I *loved* the kick-off video!! And it made me really wish for a genderfork screen saver… you know, the bits where you’ve just got photos in rhythm with music (what was that, btw??), just for loooooooonger :D *yearns*


    Keanan replied:

    Where can I see this video?


    Sarah Dopp replied:

    Over at http://genderplayful.tumblr.com



    tigr replied:

    Any chance you’re going to make more like that? Especially the genderfork photos plus great soundtrack =)

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