These retailers are betting on transgender customers

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By Matt McCue
May 21, 2015

Between Bruce Jenner’s buzzed-about 20/20 interview, Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox landing a spot on the TIME 100, and Jeffrey Tambor winning a Golden Globe for his role as a transitioning dad on Transparent, the transgender community has never been so visible in American life. And as the profile of the community has grown, so too has the small but growing industry that caters to its specific needs. From apparel and lingerie to shoes, cosmetics and prosthetics, it’s now possible to seek out a range of merchants whose products are designed without the constraints of traditional ideas of gender.

Exactly how big is the potential transgender market? That depends who you ask. The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law has estimated there are about 700,000 transgender individuals in the country. Vanessa Sheridan, the executive director of the Institute for Transgender Economic Advancement, puts the figure closer to 1% of the population, or 3.2 million people. “I think it may be even higher than that,” she says. “Many transgender people are closeted.”

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