Ambitious and pioneering, trans people are opting to start their own businesses – whether through necessity or by identifying a gap in the market. Here are just a few examples of our trans siblings doing it for themselves.
Owen, Dead Name Assassin
I'm a disabled business owner, unfortunately my health has gotten progressively worse over the years and I found it increasingly difficult to remain in full time employment as my illness is incredibly unpredictable, but I didn't want to give up on my dream of a career in fashion.
I have always had a huge interest in garment construction and costume design, and I wanted to become self-employed eventually, so I saw launching my own label as a great opportunity for me to work as an artist and maintain my independence at the same time.
My aim is to create body positive slow fashion which appeals to all genders, to keep pushing my creativity to the next level with each new collection, and commission whilst ensuring I have minimal negative impact on the environment as a business. I am always looking for ways to innovate within my field and push myself as a designer to create something that people haven't seen before. I am working on a brand-new couture latex collection at the moment, which I’m very excited about. I am also planning to expand my range of binders and drop some new streetwear later in the year.
Lucy, Trans Radio UK
I decided to start up Trans Radio UK as the only radio station specifically for the transgender community had disappeared and I felt we, the community, needed a station, but also a station that anyone could listen to and would appeal to many. After doing some research, I took the plunge, invested in equipment, software, servers, and licences, ready to broadcast.
With no listeners and only one DJ (me) Trans Radio UK was born in February 2018 with no listeners and only myself deejaying.
Now we are live 24/7, have 19 DJ’s, average over 6,000 listeners a week and have been listened to in just over 100 countries – so the positive reaction has been amazing.
We pride ourselves on being a platform for members of our community to showcase their talents, whether they are a presenter, DJ or musician and we freely promote charitable community events.
We have showcased trans and non-binary artists and will continue to do so. We cover all different genres and eras; we have shows featuring Fifties music to current day, dance, trance, heavy metal, chill-out tracks and everything in between. We have active chat threads on our website where our presenters are available for chat, banter and requests during their shows, and the station is active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Our running schedule is constantly being updated and is available on our website, as are the profiles of all our presenters.
Trans Radio UK is the only trans radio station in the UK, and possibly the world. We are proud to support the whole of the trans community as well as our LGB allies, with the vast majority of our presenters being trans or non-binary and located in the UK or around the world. We are a community radio station for the community.
We have just had a new website built for the station and hope to have an app up and running soon, although listeners can listen via the Tune In app, any smart speaker or via the webpage www.transradiouk.com. Our future ambitions are to transmit via DAB, but the main aim is to keep the station alive and progressing.
Adam, Rainbow & Co
I started Rainbow & Co in October 2018 after leaving my job as a social media manager due to issues with my mental health. As an autistic person, I have always found the traditional workplace a struggle, and so I set out to create Rainbow & Co as a way to work for myself whilst combining my skills in design, business, and marketing, as well supporting the community I am proud to be a part of. I identify as a gay trans man and I've always wanted to give back to the LGBTQ+ community in some way, and starting Rainbow & Co seemed like the perfect way to go. My mission for Rainbow & Co has always been to provide fashionable and relevant Pride apparel that represents as many LGBTQ+ identities as possible. As a primarily online business, we're able to offer a wider range of products than high street retailers, plus, we give 10% of all profits to LGBTQ+ charities all year round, not just during Pride season. We also give back to the community by providing free design services and cost price apparel, such as hoodies and t-shirts, to charity groups like the fantastic Manchester Parents Group. Over the next few years I want Rainbow & Co to have a presence at all the major Pride events around the UK and, ultimately, I'd love to expand the brand to host events of our own, from support groups to fundraisers for the LGBTQ+ community.
Joni, Indolent Clothing
Indolent (ˈɪndələnt) adj. 1. Disinclined to exert oneself; lazy; idle.
2.Pathol (med). Causing little pain. 3. Slow to heal; persistent. Not feeling pain.
From: in – (not) + dolere (to grieve; cause distress).
I have a few interesting collaborations and projects lined up that I can’t really say anything about at this stage, but I can say that I have been asked to take part in Manchester’s Art Battle which coincides with the 200th anniversary of Peterloo.
For this I’m going to be live painting in Manchester Art Gallery alongside 9 other artists, which I’m very excited about.
I have new designs that I am working on that I plan to release at the end of the summer, and I’m also in the process of putting together a bespoke clothing service that will soon be live on