'Gender-Neutral' Underwear Debuts as World's First

PHOTO: Play Out Underwear has debuted whats thought to be the first line of gender-neutral underwear. The female model on the right wears the boxer briefs, as does the model on the left, a female-to-male transsexual person. Lisa Iancin | Lindsay Katt
Play Out Underwear has debuted what's thought to be the first line of gender-neutral underwear. The female model on the right wears the boxer briefs, as does the model on the left, a female-to-male transsexual person. 

It wasn't exactly designed for the woman who always borrows her boyfriend's underwear, but it could be.

Play Out, a New York-based underwear company, sells what is thought to be the first -- or at the very least the first marketed as such -- pair of gender-neutral underwear.

The initial concept behind the boxer briefs and trunks, co-founder and designer Abby Sugar said, “was to take what’s great about what’s traditionally men’s underwear and make it so female-bodied people could wear it comfortably.”

The line showed for the first time at Lingerie Fashion Week last weekend. Since then, Sugar said, there’s been lots of buzz around a product she and her partner Sylvie Lardeux have been working on since 2011. It’s come at a time when there’s also a lot of conversation around gender identity but they’re not trying to capitalize on a trend, Sugar said.

“We could not find what we wanted out there, so set out to make it, and the timing was right for the market to demand our style of underwear as well," Sugar said.

The website reads: No matter your gender identification, we consciously design everything -- from the styling, coloring, and both cuts -- to be appealing to every gender.

The hardest part of running her company isn't keeping up with production or paying the bills, but finding the correct language to market the product, Sugar told ABC News. Sugar and her business partner identify as cisgender lesbians, or, women who identify as women that are attracted to women. They are part of the larger LGBT community and want to make sure the language is as inclusive as possible. But with transgender, cisgender, queer, androgynous and more, it’s no easy feat.

“We want to include all sides of the gender spectrum,” she said. That very much includes heterosexuals. “But language is always changing and someone’s always offended.

Sugar said someone she suggested she just label the products as being for “people with vaginas” or “people with penises.” First of all, as a businesswoman, that’s just “not searchable.” But, also “what about the male-to-female transgender person who does not have a vagina yet but wants one? I don’t want that person to feel bad.”

So, back to calling it gender-neutral underwear.

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