At Sparkle, some of the volunteers on the Transliving stall got talking to a wonderful transwoman, Robyn Electra, on a neighbouring pitch. Robyn was present promoting a new business venture, Gaff and Go, a specialist company making lingerie and swimwear for pre-op transwomen, non-binary people and other members of the trans community who need to tuck. Tucking is the process of folding the male genitalia away so that it can't be seen through clothing, thereby giving a flatter and more feminine appearance.
What is remarkable about Robyn is her back story: Robyn now lives in Liverpool but is originally from Liverpool. As a transwoman, Robyn has personal experience of the trials of passing. Robyn states:
"Growing up trans and being a trans woman of African descent was very challenging. My environment was extremely hostile towards trans people and members of the LGBTQ+ community. With no access to trans products within my community, I started using industrial gaffer tapes that were extremely painful and damaging to my body.
"I was using unsafe methods to tuck in order to achieve a discreet and flat front. If I didn't do this, I felt very unsafe walking around the streets. It felt really dangerous in public, like everyone was looking at me when I was wearing a dress."
Robyn came out when she was twenty years old and struggled badly with gender dysphoria, which the NHS describes as 'a sense of unease that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity.' Like many transgender people, Robyn found herself in a financial position where she could not afford to fund her transition privately and address the physical aspects of her dysphoria. These circumstances and a desire to help others in their transition led to Robyn launching her brand, Gaff and Go, and then promoting it on a neighbouring stall at Sparkle!sd
"Every day, gender dysphoria would play on my mind when I looked at my crotch. Some people go under the knife, but not everyone can; it is very costly. Being a black trans woman, I faced a lot of double discrimination and was never supported or accepted. This hurt me a lot. One of the first steps for me to solve this problem was to make sure I had the right attire so I would feel like myself."
Since launching the brand, Robyn has been developing the perfect tucking gaffs that solve the problem of constantly needing to readjust your underwear. At its most basic, a gaff is an item of compression underwear made to be worn by transgender women or those who tuck to achieve a flatter, more gender-affirmed look.
"My experience and knowledge have been put into my designs so as to create the perfect gaff that conceals everything. As far as I know, I'm the only person making gaffs that come in five different styles and colours."
Since launching the brand in 2017, Gaff and Go have amassed a following of 200,000 followers across all of their social media accounts and have been worn by drag queens on different franchises of RuPaul's Drag Race.
Transliving members can get a 15% discount at Gaff and Go using the code Gaff15
Visit Gaff and Go website