SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Civvies in downtown Savannah is celebrating International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Civvies was founded 15 years ago by a SCAD graduate who was an advocate for trans rights.
Today, they sell clothing for all people, regardless of gender identity.
“The clothing is the gender of the person wearing it,” Civvies manager Raine Blunk said. “And I think it’s important for everybody to experience a shopping environment where their first thought isn’t, ‘am I supposed to be wearing this because the gender is assigned like me.’ When, in reality, it’s like does it fit well? Do you like how you look in it?”
The store doesn’t separate clothes by men and women sections but instead is organized by item, size, and color.
“We have prioritized hiring gender-nonconforming and trans people,” Blunk said. “So I think for us as a workplace, it’s kind of an everyday thing just the fact that the people who work here get to be themselves at work and are respected by each other as themselves and then can pass that off to the experience with the customers is super important because it’s not very common in workplace culture for that to be a priority.”
Civvies prioritizes helping people in the trans community find necessary resources.
They also give a portion of their proceeds to the Savannah Harm Reduction Coalition, accept clothing donations so they are able to provide free clothing to people in need, and offer Narcan kits for reversing opioid-related overdoses.
“Trans and gender-nonconforming people are generally low-income people who have poor access to healthcare and are generally lotted by society as being a group that doesn’t necessarily deserve support and prioritization,” Blunk said.
“So for us, we try to find ways every day at work to expand whatever resources we have to the general public,” they added.
Lane Cogdill, the Diversity Committee Chair for First City Pride Center, provided News 3 with local and national resources for transgender and gender-nonconforming people to acknowledge International Transgender Day of Visibility.
“I think of this day as an opportunity to educate people,” Cogdill said. “And part of that comes from my background, I’m a middle school teacher. So I look at everything as an opportunity to educate.”
“Many people believe they don’t know someone who’s trans,” they said. “As an openly trans person, I always have people confiding in me. I have students who tell me that, I have people my age and older who tell me that.”
“So, I think of this day as an opportunity for the people who have the privilege to be very visibly out to educate people and change the world and hopefully make it a better place for the people who feel silenced,” Cogdill added.
“I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook about how difficult it is for some people to be stuck at home with people who misgender you and who just generally don’t respect you,” Cogdill said.
“There is research that shows trans people who are not accepted for their identity are at a higher risk of self-harm.”
The First City Pride Center (formerly the Savannah LGBT Center) provides many resources such as support groups, events, meeting spaces, mental health services, drop-in HIV testing, and other resources for the community: https://www.savannahlgbtcenter.org/
PFLAG is a national organization with resources such as this guide to understanding transgender identities: https://pflag.org/publication/guidetobeingatransally
Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER): https://www.transstudent.org/
Starland Family Practice – transgender healthcare and primary care in Savannah: https://www.starlandfp.com/
The Trevor Project— a suicide prevention hotline specifically for LGBTQ+ youth, “Which is especially important right now as many transgender students may be stuck at home with non-affirming families,” Cogdill added. https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
The Trans Lifeline is a trans-specific suicide and crisis hotline for transgender people that is also staffed by trans people: https://www.translifeline.org/