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A Subscription Box for Those Who Often Don't Fit Easily Into Boxes

The effort, launched in the past week on Indiegogo, aims to provide items to transgender youth through a "Give One, Get One" business model.

Diverse Xpress

The notion of a subscription box based on a particular interest is hardly new.

There’s Barkbox for pet owners, Blue Apron for lazy-but-health-conscious cooks, Citrus Lane for parents of young kids.

But the existence of one designed specifically for those who transcend society’s gender norms is a new twist. Enter Diverse Xpress, which aims to be a quarterly subscription box for those who are transgender or gender non-conforming.

The effort, which launched in the past week on Indiegogo, would offer a quarterly mix of books, clothing and practical necessities, such as chest binders often used by transgender men.

Like Toms Shoes and One Laptop Per Child, Diverse Xpress aims to use a Give One, Get One model where those who can afford the goods help trans youth who cannot. The project’s organizers are working with LGBT centers across the country to help identify youth in need.

“The Internet has brought us a long way in terms of knowledge about what identities exist, where we each may fall, and what resources exist, but if we lack the means to actually get those resources, then it can be frustrating,” said Beck Swanson, one of the project’s organizers.

Already, Swanson reports getting enthusiastic letters from would-be beneficiaries.

“Access to binders and non-binaried clothing to me means that I am loved and appreciated by my LGBT family all around the world,” one youth told Swanson. “It makes me feel like I matter. If I suddenly had a way of getting them, to me it would mean that I could finally be me.”

Making Diverse Xpress into a sustainable business, though, could be tricky. Even those targeting a big market could struggle in the next downturn and the transgender community, while growing in attention, is also known for high levels of homelessness and unemployment. Its crowd-funding goal of $15,000 is modest, but Swanson is convinced there is a market here.

“Having spoken with so many centers, so many youth, and so many people in our community about this, there is endless hope and enthusiasm about this idea,” Swanson said. “I believe that once we hit our funding mark, that first year will position us in a place to really know our clients even better and become a trusted resource in the community.”

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