The best therapy is retail therapy

"...nothing says therapy for a day like retail therapy!" File photo.

by Allison Blaylock
Transgender Advice Columnist

Dear Alli,

I was so excited to see a trans-columnist! I live between OKC & Tulsa in a rural area - where are the best places for us to shop in those metro areas? I am tired of having to drive to Dallas or other big cities to shop.

Thank you,
Ahlesha B.


Dear Ahlesha,

I will let you know that this is not an uncommon question nor is it one that I take lightly. Finding a place that not only allows for you to feel comfortable shopping at, let alone accepts you as a person is hard.

I typically tell my friends that it is always easier to find the big chain department stores. These are stores like Macy’s, Dillard’s, Victoria’s Secret, Sears, Ross, and JCPenny. The best part about these stores is that they either have been trained or been through sensitivity classes that allow them to better serve you. This works regardless if you are a transitioning male to female or female to male.  

I would suggest until you are comfortable to stay away from locally owned stores unless you have done your research on them. In the five states that The Gayly is distributed in, you can find a mall at many of these locations. If you see The Gayly at the establishment you will be welcomed many more times than not.

You should be prepared that if you are presenting as a certain gender that the changing room they place you in may not always be what you may like. Going to stores such as Target and Wal-Mart may not always be the best or most ideal, as many times the managers are trained, but the staff or the patrons are not as understanding. Wal-Mart does have a centralized changing room in most stores now since they have remodeled.

Victoria’s Secret has always been a nice place to go as you are starting your hormone changes, as they will fit you for a bra every time you go in. They are also better at giving you the correct bra size than yourself.

It is hard in many cases to go into stores, and as you find you are more and more confident and/or conformable with stores you will see that shopping as your authentic-self is much easier. It can even be addicting, as nothing says therapy for a day like retail therapy!

You will also want to keep in mind that if you go into a store and are honest with them, that they will tend to be much more supportive. You do have to realize that one of the other focuses of retail stores is to make money. In many cases, the transgender community wants to spend their money in the stores. I find that as more and more stores realize this, they are much more accepting of us shopping.

As with any aspects of the transition, you always have to think about the safety of yourself, others around you and the environment. We can always want something or strive for it, though if one of these three aspects is not there, then we can set ourselves up for something negative to happen.

Please keep in mind that even though the stores I have mentioned have polices and are typically good ones to go to, there can always be those bad days. If you are unsure of a store or the way that they will handle you, ask for a manager and let them know that you are there to shop and want to make it an enjoyable experience. The stores will appreciate this as they will want your business and the future business as well.


The Gayly- 4/17/2016 @ 7:42 AM CDT