Feeling comfortable in your own skin is hard enough. Feeling under pressure in the public eye and uncomfortable in scrutiny just makes it worse.

Portland has recently welcomed a safe space for folks to shop for clothing who may otherwise feel uncomfortable in traditional stores. Created with transgender and nonbinary folks in mind, the nonprofit Maine TransNet has opened an ungendered thrift store within the city.

Safe Combinations in Portland, Maine

The ungendered shopping space, Safe Combinations, is a safe and welcoming environment for people to try on and buy affordable clothing while feeling as comfortable as possible. The store operates on donations and is organized by tops, bottoms, shoes, and types of clothing rather than having male or female gendered sections.

An inclusive place like this grants the freedom to experiment and try on whatever you please without feeling judged. This is the best place to experiment with your comfort level, your style, and what you feel your best in without feeling like you are shopping in the “wrong” section. This is especially important for those in the early stages of transition.

The affirming shop provides bras and binders for free and is located right inside of the new Equality Community Center in Portland, a shared space with other LGBTQ+ organizations.

Transitioning can also be expensive, as you experiment with a new wardrobe and change your style, so the affordable thrift store helps to ease that financial burden. There are so many positives to a safe space like this.

Portland is a trailblazer in many things, and ungendered shopping spaces are a beautiful example.

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