Giving Thousands of Gaffs Away for FREE with Point of Pride

Today we’re so excited to share about a partner close to our hearts here at Origami Customs. It's an NPO that has changed the face of our company and allowed us to help thousands of trans people who don't have access to gender-affirming care. Although we’ve been working with them for years, we’ve never shared with you just how much they’ve changed our lives, and the lives of others. 

Through our partnership, we’ve given away almost 2,000 free gaffs to people who need them, and our relationship with them was what kicked off our entire community partnerships program where we’ve helped thousands more. So today, we’d like to spotlight our first, oldest, and most impactful partner. We would officially like to introduce you to Point of Pride.

Three trans people hugging with text that says, "Do you know we give products away for free?"

What is Point of Pride?

Point of Pride is an incredible non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the transgender community. Founded in 2016, Point of Pride started with a simple but profound mission: to help the most vulnerable members of our community feel seen and supported. They do this by providing access to life-saving health and wellness services, including gender-affirming garments, financial aid for surgeries, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Point of Pride’s guiding principles are affirmation, access, equity, empowerment, and celebration. They aim to provide powerful affirmation for trans people, ensure access to care, address inequalities, create transformative changes, and celebrate the resilience and beauty of the trans community.

To date, Point of Pride has donated 21,750 gender-affirming compression garments and awarded  $2,197,000 in direct financial support to the trans community throughout 122 countries. They’ve helped thousands of people access essential care, and we’re honoured to be a part of their journey.

Rack of Origami Customs clothing

How It All Began

Point of Pride started in such a genuine way- with one person’s need for gender-affirming care. In 2011, trans activist Aydian Dowling needed top surgery. Although at the time the cost was only around $5900, it was still a huge amount of money to earn without support. So Aydian did something inventive- he started printing t-shirts to raise money.

After months of working, he was able to secure the funding for his gender-affirming surgery. But he didn’t stop when he’d made his money. When he realized how much his surgery had changed his life, he wanted to find a way to help others who couldn’t afford it. He officially named his company Point 5cc and continued to make t-shirts, but now all the profits were given to other trans people in need. At first, the impact was small- the first year he only made around $800, but the donations started growing year after year.

Soon after, he had a friend who reached out because they had extra unneeded binders. They sparked the idea that Aydian might be able to find people who needed those binders. At the time the tradition was for people who had undergone top surgery to burn their binders as a form of liberation and celebration. But Aydian saw the possibilities of all the people who could use those binders. So he began collecting them and made an offer through Point 5cc- if people purchased a t-shirt, not only would part of the profits go to someone’s gender-affirming care, but you could also get a free binder. 

Trans woman wearing a compression gaff

Becoming Point of Pride

While this business model wasn’t financially successful, it started the direction to become the non-profit that is helping so many thousands of people today. He started working with current Executive Director & co-founder Jeff Main to turn the program into a non-profit. The inspiration from Point5cc became the powerhouse that is now Point of Pride.

Point of Pride became an independent non-profit organization with a dedicated team to grow its fundraising efforts. The goal was to help more community members feel affirmed and celebrated, and speak out for the need for inclusive and supportive changes in our society. Since then, Point of Pride has awarded over 2 million dollars in direct financial assistance and donated thousands of gender-affirming garments to trans youth and adults in all 50 states and around the world.

They're continually expanding access, and their new initiative "The Thrive Fund," is unlike anything else we’ve seen. It offers micro-grants of up to $2,500 for gender-affirming care not covered by existing programs. This initiative opens up new possibilities for what gender-affirming care can look like, supporting needs like fertility treatments, wigs, and more. It’s a fantastic step forward in recognizing the diverse needs of our community.

CEO of Origami Customs Rae Hill working in the studio

How Origami Customs Became Involved

Up until they found Origami Customs, the program was just a free binder program, because they couldn’t find anyone who made tucking garments that they could afford to give away. The synchronicity of finding Origami Customs was when they were first able to expand the program to include transfemme garments. 

As POP began to grow, they started to get more requests for garments. The program was becoming essential and they knew they needed to expand, especially to include transfemms products. Trans women are a higher target for violence, as well as have a harder time finding housing and employment. So supporting that part of the community is highly impactful.

They were getting donations for external breast enhancers but soon realized that the appearance of larger breasts wasn’t the most important thing to help trans women. What they really needed was a tucking garment. Tucking can be unsafe if done improperly, so having a safe compression garment immediately enhances someone’s quality of life.  

They began looking for somewhere to find gaff donations but struggled to find anyone. High-quality and safe gaffs can be difficult to find, even now. Especially ones affordable enough for a non-profit to give away for free. 

That’s when POP stumbled across Origami Customs online. Program Director Tyler Rodriguez reached out to see if OC would be interested in partnering with them to help get free gaffs to people in need. It was so aligned with Rae’s desire to help people, and the rest is history!

Four trans people leaning against a wall wearing Origami Customs gender-affirming gear

How Working With Point Of Pride Has Changed Our Lives

Origami Customs started with a similar intention as Point of Pride. Trans Founder Rae Hill began sewing their clothes to fit their unique body’s needs, and then quickly concluded that their queer and trans community needed support as well. They began hand-sewing custom gender-affirming garments for people who needed them, and we grew from there.

At Origami Customs, we’re so aware of all the barriers our community faces, and our vision has always been to help as many people as possible. We know how important gender-affirming garments are to people’s quality of life, and how having a quality well-fit compression garment can support health and safety.

So when Tyler from Point of Pride reached out to ask if Rae wanted to participate in their program, it was the perfect fit. Rae jumped head-first into making gaffs for their program, but it didn’t stop there. The realization that organizations needed that type of support kicked-started our entire community program, and we now work with over 40 NGOs worldwide. 

“Seeing Point of Prides’s work in the community made me want to reach out and find more like them, to create a network and database of Orgs.  I always loved that Point of Pride made it easy and self-affirming to access free products, allowing anyone in the world to get on the list.  And seeing how long their waitlist was eye-opening that it was so needed! So them reaching out was so influential in changing the course of the company,” said Rae.

Trans woman wearing a gaff and bamboo bra

The Impact We’ve Had

The purpose of doing what we do is to help people, and programs like Point of Pride help us do that on an incredible scale. Since partnering with Point of Pride, we’ve been able to ship gaffs to folks in need worldwide. To date through POP, we’ve shipped 1,950 gaffs to 45 countries, including every state in the U.S. In 2023 alone, we shipped our first gaffs to places like the Philippines, Japan, and Hungary.

These aren’t just numbers to us. We know from personal experience how much one of these garments can affect your quality of life and safety. We’ve received countless messages from recipients worldwide who have shared how much the free gaff program has meant to them.

 One person wrote saying, “Thank you so much for the gaff. I’m a transwoman living in poverty in the State of Arkansas where I can’t receive any trans-related care. Having this gaff gives me the boost I need to try and get out more. Being plus-sized and using duct tape for so long has probably given me permanent disfigurement but that’s okay. Now I can finally heal and safely stay tucked away until I can one day afford the surgeries I’ve wanted my whole life. Thank you for all that you do and for helping trans women like myself who can’t afford these important things. Your generosity has made the life of a little nobody like me, breathable.”

The Point of Pride team

 Working with Point of Pride has been an incredible journey of growth and mutual support, and we’re so grateful for this partnership that has given us the capacity to change more lives. Times are hard for anyone dealing with trans issues but by supporting Trans Health Care Orgs we can help make things a little easier. We’re stronger together,  and so proud to call Point of Pride our partner. 

Learn More About Point of Pride
Apply For a Free Gaff
Donate to Point of Pride

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.