There’s a saying in fashion: you can have anything in life if you dress for it. It is a mantra for those who are motivated to wear clothes so that they can be accepted as their true authentic selves.
That’s what inspired Discussions that thrive. It is run by SAIT students for students.
President Cassidy Eldarazi said this is where people learn to alter their clothes to fit their bodies – clothes designed to be gender affirming.
“I’ve seen so much change when I find something that fits or can modify something to fit my body better. It’s a huge boost for my morale and my body image. and I’m less worried about how other people see me,” Eldarazi said.
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Shopping in men-only or women-only departments can be daunting and sometimes risky for those navigating their gender journey.
“When you’re a queer person, shopping at a clothing store that doesn’t match your outward gender expression is scary. The fear of being outed, of being persecuted, that can be dangerous,” Eldarazi said. .
Ryan Skyburn has been frequenting the workshops since their launch last March.
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“I identify as a transgender man. I transitioned from female to male when I was 15,” Skyburn said.
He said it was a life-changing experience.
“It enlightens you.”
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“Having something I want to wear makes me want to get out of my house and it’s helpful for a lot of LGBT people who suffer from agoraphobia, depression and anxiety and other things so relevant to our community,” said Skyburn.
The workshops are monthly and take place at My Sewing Room. Staff help teach sewing techniques.
Threads that Thrive vice president Jamie Schnell said fashion designers are moving to create clothes for the gender-neutral community.
“People don’t always fit in buckets. It started when they recognized that not everyone was size zero. They started to make things more inclusive. They are making strides to make things more gender inclusive,” Schnell said.
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There are nearly 15 people in each workshop and they rely on the clothes donated at the clothing drives.
“It’s fantastic that we can connect people who are going on this journey together and be able to share their transition or be gender neutral confirming and building community and having a safe space to come together and work on these projects together,” Schnell said.
Skyburn said his journey is evolving and he’s grateful to share those experiences with others in the workshops.
“It’s lifesaving for sure because there’s something inside me that’s afraid my right to be trans will be taken away from me, they’ll take my hormones away, they’ll cancel my surgery and give me back again my ‘girl clothes,'” Skyburn said. .
“The thing is, I know I have the support here.
“The means of getting these clothes are so much more important than how the clothes fit my body.”
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