A Wrinkle in Buying

You know how, when you need some gift-buying inspiration, you go to a favourite shopping website and click on the options? You can select gift ideas for men, women, kids, or a specific celebratory event. Well, the people who put the products under those categories have some really limited perceptions of gender. I have two family members who are transgender, and who absolutely do not fit into the gender categories the stores have in mind.

Gifts (from SVG silh)

Take, for instance, the gifts identified as being for men. They involve beer (lots of beer), barbequing, hard liquor, golf, shaving (lots of shaving), ties, tools, slippers, and aprons that make jokes about “real men.” I could not find a single appropriate item. 

Gifts for women suggest kitchen gadgets, makeup, wine-related novelties, things to warm you up (including scarves, wraps, and neck massagers), candles, and various heart-shaped doo-dads.

Gifts (from PIXNIO)

Both of the people I am shopping for have only a passing interest in cooking, hire tradespeople to do any household repairs, do not drink alcohol, do not play golf, and live in an apartment that does not permit barbeques. I thought about slippers, but the sizes are in very gender-specific styles and thereby inappropriate. I also considered makeup, but that is such a personal choice that I didn’t feel qualified to make a good selection. That leaves neck warmers for her, but I don’t think the person I have in mind is cold very often. It also leaves golf gear for him, but he has never expressed an interest in the sport.

I wonder if there are any websites that help allies find gifts for transgender folk. If you know of any, please let me know.

Both of the people I am shopping for are talented, clever, tech-savvy, and engaged in their communities. Their interests include computers, video games, music, books, and board games. My problem is that they have been involved in these hobbies so long that I don’t have a fighting chance of finding something that they don’t already have.

Gifts (from maxiej326 via Pixabay)

The fall-back position is always to buy a gift card, but I really don’t want to do that when I have been able to find appropriate gifts for other family members. I want to buy them actual, thoughtful, relevant, personal presents.

Perhaps I will have to create something for them myself, but at this moment I don’t know what that would be. Maybe I could paint a picture or knit a toque. I’m not very good at either painting or knitting, but I’m willing to do my best. Maybe I could bring them food, but I’m only a so-so cook, so that’s not a great idea either.

As I write this I just realized that I can utilize the cooking and/or crafting skills of other people. That’s what I’ll do! I’m going to seek out people who make a living making unique gifts. Who knows, maybe I’ll give them a whole new revenue source. Etsy, here I come.

Damn, I’m good at shopping. 


  1. There is a Tumblr post that says:

    “me throughout the year: if only i could justify buying this Thing :/ Maybe christmas or my birthday.

    my mom: give me a list of things you want for christmas/your birthday

    me: i have never wanted for anything ever in my entire life”

    LOL I’ll try to send a list soon! If I can remember things I want!

    And yes, the gender categories for gifts are ridiculous even for cis people. “There are two types of people. Are you the type who likes golf and shaving? Or the type that likes wine and lipstick?” Bizarre.

  2. I like your ideas of crafty people gifts!
    I am sending you a website of a Kansas poet we call, Maya Angelou of the Plains.
    Her poetry is inclusive and resonates deeply. Take a look!

  3. Damn, you ARE good at shopping. Still … never having expressed an interest in golf doesn’t mean that special someone wouldn’t *love* a set of tees! Ha ha!

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