Culture

Here’s Why One Latina Helped To Create A Queer-Friendly Clothing Line With Underwear For Everyone

I first heard about TomboyX from a podcaster who claimed they were the most comfortable, queer-friendly underwear to ever exist. And then my girlfriend bought us a pair of matching holiday patterns, one in bikini and one in boy shorts. I was sold.

Trust, these underwear are already super comfy and make you feel like the most comfortable you you can be. What you’re about to find out about the Latina co-founder, Naomi Gonzalez, and the kind of company you’d be supporting will make you feel like an actual modern day hero. Except you’re sporting heroic underwear under your streetwear.

They have an agenda. It’s not feminist. It’s not gay. It’s human.

CREDIT: “MicroModal Neutrals” Digital Image. Tomboyx. 7 September 2018.

They create bras, underwear, sleepwear and activewear for all bodies, all genders, and basically, just all people. Their definition of good underwear is one that “any body could feel comfortable in, regardless of where they fell on the size or gender spectrum.”

Known as “Fran + Naomi,” these tomboy founders have shaped a company they’ve dreamed of.

CREDIT: “Tomboyx founders: Fran and Naomi” Digital Image. Tomboyx. 7 September 2018.

In an interview with GO Mag, Gonzalez made it clear that what she’s doing is fulfilling an unmet need for the queer community.

“I’m a first-generation Cuban who grew up in New York City. We were working class and my parents always struggled to make ends meet, working all the time. I knew at an early age that I was going to do whatever I could to find a way to fulfill my dreams of doing something different and meaningful with my life.”

Obviously, there’s hella gay pride.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Tomboyx. 7 September 2018.

This is literally just the tip of the iceberg. You can choose to have underwear with a white elastic band or a rainbow. You could get them all and just wear what you want depending on the mood.

And TomboyX customers help shape the brand Fran + Naomi set out to create.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram

In their mission statement, they admit, “In trying to fill a need, we unwittingly unleashed an outpouring of emotion. The comments and conversations, emails and letters that we’ve read from our customers told us long ago that we were onto something bigger. At the heart of it all, we’re still us, the same founders since the beginning, with the most supportive and thought-provoking customers we could’ve ever hoped for. You helped us to create what TomboyX is today. ”

One thing’s for sure: TomboyX is showing us breathtaking beauty we don’t see in the mainstream.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram
Just follow their social media channels and you’ll feel affirmed in every single way. People all across the gender spectrum, physical abilities, shapes, sizes, skin colors, everyone is proud to wear a brand that is proud to feature people that look like them, like us.

Plus, their values start at the source of production: women-owned factories.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram

Everything they make is ethically produced and sweat-shop free. They even make frequent visits to their factories across Canada, China and the United States to ensure the conditions align with their values. Those visits are weekly, and even sometimes daily. Their exact words: “We have chosen to work with women-owned facilities, who share our values of taking good care of their workers and reducing their environmental impact.”

Their cotton is completely toxin-free.

CREDIT: @roseybeeme / Instagram

Apparently, it’s all “Oeko-tex 100 certified”—which basically means that it’s top-quality worldwide. If you’re vegan, you might want to avoid the activewear since they use crab and shrimp shells instead of synthetic chemicals to give it a quick-dry, antibicrobial and moisture-wicking properties.

And it’s sustainable for the environment.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram

Their luxury MicroModal fabric is made out from sustainably harvested and processed Beechwood fibers. According to their values, their “Signature Prints use a water-based, earth-conscious method, recycling water well above the standards required. We are always looking for the greenest, cleanest method for everything we make.”

So go ahead and ditch laundry this week. Shop away. ; )

The staff even takes Earth Day as an excuse to get a little dirty.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram

“For #EarthDay, we spent some time volunteering in a local park. Check out our story for more and tell us what you are doing to celebrate ????”

Can you spot Naomi + Fran?! Tan cute.

Their activewear has an activist message.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram

You can also find briefs and trunks that are quick-dry and moisture-wicking, that way you don’t have to have a weird mesh underwear thing that you find in men’s trunks, and you can feel fly while swimming, working out, adventuring, etc.

Oh, and make that statement, mami.

You might have guessed that the brand isn’t afraid to make political statements.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram

You’d be right. “We stand with the students and supporters fighting to make their communities safer. People have a right to be safe at school, at a movie theater, at a concert, and everywhere else. #EnoughIsEnough Who’s marching tomorrow? ✊????✊????✊????✊????✊????”

The founders marched at Seattle’s Women’s March in support of immigrants.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram

“What an incredible day. We brought our friends, families, and partners and took to the street in Seattle with many other incredible humans. Let’s keep fighting! #powertothepolls”

And the company made a PSA in support of Puerto Rico, donating $10,000 to relief efforts.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram

“We’ll be donating 10% of our sales to United For Puerto Rico until we reach our goal of $10,000. As fellow US citizens, as humans, as sisters, brothers, and family, we are called to stand by them.”

Plus, people seem to genuinely feel themselves in TomboyX.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram

The testimonials are all over the internet, and never have I ever seen such a troll-free, supportive comment feed in all my life. I mean, look at that gorgeous princesa with her cute af teacup and cozy rosy sweater on deck!

Including Vicki Martinez, rising star from “Orange is the New Black.”

CREDIT: @vickimartinez / Instagram

Her and her girlfriend (recognize her as the CO who had crazy PTSD this season?), walked the runway at New York Fashion week this year sporting TomboyX and looking like female warriors.

TomboyX let’s queer people demand to be seen in intimate-wear that actually feels good in our power.

CREDIT: @m00nyeka / Instagram

One very clever Instagram user (@m00nyeka, i.e. muñeca) wrote, “As womxn, we’re fed so many messages that strip away our inner strength, so the times that I get over my nerves, demand to be seen, and then tap into my ancestors and myself to be in my power….it’s surreal.”

Sounds too good to be true? They will also let you try your first pair free.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram
You can get a full refund or exchange within 30 days, no questions asked. That’s how confident they are in their quality, fit and inclusivity. All their underwear has no back seams, which means the likelihood of a wedgie is nill, and their quality fabrics means they’ll last for a long time. 

“One day I decided to stop apologizing for my body…

CREDIT: @sheisalwaysenough / Instagram

“… I decided that I didn’t have to change in order to be loved and wanted and worthy. I decided that the idea that I could be successful and inspiring just as I am was going to be a reality. I decided that I was going to speak or even yell my truth, and the truth of thousands who are constantly told they aren’t enough. There is so much that makes up the wonderful person that is you than what’s society sees through its distorted eyes. @tomboyxthank you for giving people a chance to make their voices heard, for being so inclusive, and making a new ???? neutrals line that everyone can feel like they are slipping clouds onto their bodies.” -@sheisalwaysenough

The brand just released a neutrals line for all skin tones.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram

This should not be a game-changer in the industry, but it honestly is. Most neutral underwear you find at Victoria’s Secret is a pretty white. “You are not one thing. You are everything and quite something. #MoreToMe #TomboyXNeutrals”

But they also have some rad prints.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram

OK, these underwear are not made for dogs and I have questions for the person who plans to wear those underwear at some point. Mostly, “Why?”

TomboyX proves that when Latinas run the show, everybody can feel welcome.

CREDIT: @tomboyx / Instagram

Maybe it’s a gift we have, or maybe it’s the sincere intentionality behind a brand that has taken up the white space in the underwear industry. My fellow gays, we finally have underwear that’s going to celebrate us on literally every single one of their ads.

While I do enjoy TomboyX underwear, this post was not sponsored by TomboyX, though if you’re reading this, Fran + Naomi, you can sponsor me anytime. ;P 


READ: Every Hairy Latina Can Relate To These 7 Stages Of Grief

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This Digital Posada Is All About Helping The LGBTQ Migrant Community, Who Face A Uniquely Challenging Reality

Things That Matter

This Digital Posada Is All About Helping The LGBTQ Migrant Community, Who Face A Uniquely Challenging Reality

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

With homosexuality still illegal in more than 60 countries around the world and attitudes towards transgendered people often even less welcoming, it’s obvious why so many people risk their lives to migrate to the United States.

However, that journey to a better life is often one of many dangerous hurdles and often times, once swept up in immigration proceedings, things don’t get much better.

LGBTQ detainees across the country have shared harrowing experiences of being mocked or tortured for their gender identity or sexual orientation. Many others have been sexually assaulted while in ICE custody or while waiting for their asylum claims at the U.S.-Mexico border. And transgendered and HIV-positive detainees have both been denied medically necessary healthcare that has posed a risk to their lives.

LGBTQ migrants have the same issues and problems to worry about that all other migrants face, however, the LGBTQ experience comes with several extra hurdles.

LGBTQ migrants coming to the U.S. face unique challenges that often put them at increased risk of violence.

Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

Like so many others, LGBTQ migrants are often fleeing violence and persecution in their native countries. But despite often fleeing sexual violence and trans- and homophobia, so many migrants are sexually assaulted while in U.S. custody.

While just 0.14 percent of ICE detainees self-identified as LGBTQ in 2017, they reportedly accounted for 12 percent of sexual abuse and assault victims.

Based on a new report from the Center for American Progress, a public policy research and advocacy organization, LGBTQ migrants in federal detention centers are 97 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than other detainees.

Studies show LGBTQ migrants are among the most vulnerable, more likely to be assaulted and killed, especially trans migrants. Of Central American LGBTQ migrants interviewed by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in 2017, 88 percent were victims of sexual and gender-based violence in their countries of origin; two-thirds suffered similar attacks in Mexico.

Human rights group allege that ICE fails to provide proper medical care to LGBTQ migrants – particularly trans and HIV-positive detainees.

Migrant advocacy groups and several lawmakers have demanded that ICE release all LGBTQ detainees and anyone with HIV in the agency’s custody, because the government has repeatedly failed to provide adequate medical and mental health care to them.

“We know that lack of medical and mental-health care, including lack of HIV care, is the norm,” Roger Coggan, director of legal services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “By the Department of Homeland Security’s own count, 300 individuals identifying as transgender have been in custody and at the mercy of ICE since October of 2018.

For detainees with HIV, antiretroviral treatment is necessary to help kill and suppress the virus which ensures a healthy life but also reduces the risk of transmission to basically zero. Yet ICE is failing to provide this life-saving care.

Johana Medina Leon, a transgender woman who was detained at Otero and had tested positive for HIV, fell seriously ill and died at a hospital in nearby El Paso. Leon, 25, was the second trans woman to die in ICE custody in New Mexico in the past year. Roxsana Hernandez, 33, died in November 2018 after falling ill at the Cibola County Correctional Facility.

Meanwhile, Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy is presenting additional challenges to the LGBTQ community.

Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

While the Trump administration has severely limited asylum qualifications for Central Americans fleeing gang violence and domestic abuse, migrants can still request asylum based on persecution because of their gender identity and/or their sexual orientation. But their path is far from easy.

The administration continues to return LGBTQ migrants to Mexican border cities where they face assaults, kidnappings and death while they await U.S. court hearings.

“Here, the same as at home, the police discriminate against us,” Alejandro Perez told NBC News in early October. “We’re very vulnerable. I don’t feel safe here in Mexico.”

Border Patrol officials initially said “vulnerable” asylum seekers would be exempted from the Remain in Mexico program, including those who are LGBTQ, pregnant or disabled. But that hasn’t been the case.

Thankfully, the LGBTQ Center Orange County is working hard to protect and help the most vulnerable.

Southern California is home to the nation’s largest undocumented community, which means organizations like the LGBTQ Center Orange County have their work cut out for them. However, the center has proudly stood up to help in powerful and life-changing ways.

The LGBTQ Center OC is one of the leading migrant outreach centers in the region, attending numerous events throughout the year and providing outreach at the Mexican consulate in Santa Ana – each year reaching more than 5,000 people. The center also played a pivotal role in ending the partnership of Santa Ana Police and the Orange County Sheriff with ICE, bringing an end to ICE detention within the county.

As those migrants were detained at facilities outside the county – sometimes more than two hours away – the center mobilized volunteers to help stay in touch with detainees. This team helps provide much needed companionship through letters and notes, as well as providing legal representation and even cash payments that help detainees get everything from a filling meal to in-person visits.

And the work the center does is so important because it shouldn’t just be on detainees to speak out. All of us as part of the LGBTQ and migrant communities should support those in detention and speak out about the injustices they’re suffering in detention.

The Center is hosting a digital posada and you’re invited!

We all know the tradition of a posada. So many of us grew up with a holiday season full of them and although this year will look very different (thanks to Covid-19), the LGBTQ Center OC wants to keep the tradition and celebration alive.

Posadas commemorate the journey of Mary and Joseph in search of a safe refuge, a sentiment that so many migrants and refugees in our communities can relate to. It’s with this spirit that the center is hosting it’s annual posada – but virtually.

The important event is free for all to attend but is a critical fundraising event that enables the center to do all that it does for the LGBTQ migrant community across Southern California. You can learn more and RSVP here but just know that it’s an event you do not want to miss.

Not only will you be able to virtually hang out with members of the community and leaders from the LGBTQ Center OC but there will also be a screening of the short documentary, Before & After Detention, a spirited round of lotería, raffle, and a live performance by the LGBTQ Mariachi Arcoíris de Los Angeles.

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These Latina-Owned Businesses Are Winners Of The El Pollo Loco Grants

Fierce

These Latina-Owned Businesses Are Winners Of The El Pollo Loco Grants

todoverde / yucasla / Instagram

El Pollo Loco announced a grant program to help Latina-owned businesses in the Los Angeles area. The grant, which is $10,000 and mentorship to grow their businesses, went to several businesses ran by Latinas. Covid-19 has devastated the small business community and women have been the hardest hit. El Pollo Loco’s grants offered some businesses a necessary lifeline.

Andrea’s Healthy Kitchen

Andrea’s Healthy Kitchen started in 2013 and aims to offer people healthy juices to help with their own health goals. Tatiana Pacheco’s own journey in weight loss with the help of juices inspired the company to be.

“It means a lot for AHK and we are going to be forever grateful for all the support we received from our clients, friends, followers and family,” Pacheco said. “The amount of love was unbelievable during this contest. I cried with every single nomination because they all had a special memory or reason to nominate AHK.”

Milpa Grille

Desyi Minera Serrano created Milpa Grille to connect people with their Mesoamerican ancestors through food. The most important part of the Milpa Grille experience is the use of the all-important ingredient: corn.

“This El Pollo Loco [grant] is huge for us. It will ease my mind knowing that we have the fund to catch up to those bills that piled up during COVID. But most importantly that you have organizations/companies that are willing to help and assist others during a time where the hospitality industry has been hit the hardest,” Minera Serrano says. “Having such a huge company like El Pollo Loco help us professionals is such a privilege. We’re going to ensure that the professional help is applied to Milpa not only to better us as a team but also see how we can share what we applied so we thrive as a community.”

Alchemy Organica

Chef Denise Vallejo is a first-generation indigenous Xicana who is bringing plant-based foods to everyone who finds her on social media. Alchemy Organica is a pop-up restaurant, lifestyle brand, and product line with roots in the plant-based heritage of Mexico.

“My main focus has always been the creative. I consider myself an artist first and this business cannot exist without the passion I feel for my art. However, I look forward to having expert business & financial advice to support me as I continue to grow. I come from a very humble background & working class family,” Vallejo says. “There’s so much for me to learn about running a sustainable business & becoming financially literate. I grew up seeing my father self-employed & running his own businesses, but I often wonder how much more successful his businesses could have been if he had access to more resources. It feels like I’m being supported by the universe to break generational curses now.”

Yucas LA

For decades, ‘Mama’ Socorro Herrera has been offering delicious bites from the Yucatan and people cannot get enough. According to their website, Mama and her husband Jaime first got customers by promising that they’d love it or they’d get double their money back.

Mama was touched to see the letters of love a support they received in the nomination process for the grant. Mama says that the grant to Yucas LA has “provided a breathing space financially, and an invaluable opportunity to be mentored in a specific area of business. I feel like I’ve been allowed free rein of the candy store! The campaign itself has generated a buzz that improved business.”

Café Santo

Owners Pilar Castañeda and Marlon Gonzalez are giving people a wonderful taste of Latino coffee culture with their coffee cart. The pop-up coffee business is also in the process of creating a modern Oaxacan coffee shop in California.

“We’ve put all of our heart and soul to bring our community quality coffee and a great experience to take home,” Castañeda says. “This grant will help Café Santo reach the next step in our journey, using these funds towards opening our first contemporary Oaxacan coffee shop in the Eastside of LA. El Pollo Loco’s professional mentorship will help guide us in building a solid foundation for our growing small business, something that will create long-lasting change for us as an emerging business.”

La Llorona Bakes

Adriana De Casas’ business, La Llorona Bakes LLC, is an example of a hobby becoming a profitable career. It was the kind of hobby that went from YouTube tutorials to making money with the support of friends and family.

“It means the world to me that friends, family, and customers took the time and effort to nominate me. What may just be one post to them, it means everything to me,” De Casas says. “It means they believe in my dreams, that they support me wholeheartedly. But more so, it’s honestly just reassuring like I can do this, I AM doing this.”

East Los Sweets

Baking was a part of Laura Martinez’s life since she was younger. The LA Central Bakery has been in her family since 1984 and working in a kitchen was never her plan. However, it quickly became where she was the most creative.

Martinez is grateful for the El Pollo Local Grant for giving her a chance, as a one-woman operation, it make investments in her business.

“Since gatherings are on a smaller scale because of Covid, this grant will help me buy equipment that would have taken me twice as long to save up from my orders,” Martinez says. “El pollo grant also provided finance/accounting mentorship that will help me further grow more as a small business.”

Todo Verde

Jocelyn Ramirez is a woman of many talents, including a deep knowledge of plant-based cooking. The college professor, chef, yoga teacher, and businesswoman is on a mission to create delicious plant-based foods deeply rooted in the flavors and techniques of Mexico and South America and they might be coming to a grocery store near you.

“This grant is going to our payroll for our team and will also help us continue to pivot our business,” Ramirez says. “We have been dreaming of launching consumer packaged goods available in grocery stores for the last couple of years, but have been too busy to get it off the ground. Now, we are ready and working with an amazing team to make it all happen!”

Salsaology

Lori Sandoval created Salsaology in 2013 when she was fresh out of college and needed to create a career. She knew that food was the path but didn’t plan on culinary school. With that idea, Salsaology was born in her kitchen.

“The response from our customers and friends was a humbling experience to me and the team. We feel inspired by everyone’s support; it has given us a gust of wind to keep going especially through these difficult times,” Sandoval says. “We really do strive to service and offer our community food that is clean and good for you without compromising our culinary traditions. So when we see this outpour of love and support, it motivates us to keep showing up for our community.”

READ: El Pollo Loco Announces First Round Of Latina Business Owners To Win $10K Grants

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