Gender Identity and “Packing”
Having worked retail in the adult industry and as a sales manger for Pleasure Works Wholesale, I’m often confronted with people who have never seen a packer*. The questions I am usually asked are: “This isn’t meant for penetration, is it?”, “What is this used for?” and, “Why would someone want a flaccid penis?”
My work in the sex toy business brings me in contact with people from all walks of life, and from all over the world. I am constantly reminded that not everyone is as privileged as me to be surrounded by such an amazing and wonderfully diverse group of people who represent such a broad range of orientation and sexuality. I remind myself not to be upset by these questions, as sometimes being a “sex educator” is all part of the trade. Therefore, I don’t blame people who are dumbfounded by packers; I blame the severe lack of sexual education in our world.
After reading this article about an individual (considering gender transition) being fired from their job for wearing a ‘fake penis’ to work, naturally, my first reaction was anger. But, then I stepped back and tried to see if from the employer’s point of view: they had an employee who they believed identified as a woman, wearing a “fake penis” into work. How can I be angry with someone who probably has never heard the terms “transitioning” or “transgender?” I believe it’s the responsibility of any company — large or small — to be educated on transgender rights, but when there is a severe lack of such rules in company policies and lack of government enforcement of transgender rights, I am not surprised by their reaction, just saddened by it.
I feel like this is a very important time for our community. With transgender individuals in the news, such as Chaz Bono appearing on one of the country’s highest-rated shows, Dancing With The Stars, and the debate over the Girl Scouts allowing a transgender youths into their ranks, I feel like open discussion over transgender identity in mass media is at it’s highest point in history.
It’s moments like these where we need to push forward and openly discuss these issues, and continue to educate. We must remember that for some of us, our community is a bubble of queer awesomeness and that we have to occasionally step out and confront those who challenge our beliefs. Gender discrimination affects all of us, no matter cisgender, transgender, or genderqueer.
So as the sales manager for Pleasure Works Wholesale and one of the proud co-creators of the Private Packer, I would feel remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to thank all those who stand up for their sexual identity, especially when oppressed by those who don’t know any better. It is your determination to be true to yourself, that gives courage to those still struggling with their own identity.
*What IS a “packer” you say? A packer, or soft pack, is a replica of a flaccid penis made of silicone or softskin and available in many colors and sizes. “Packing” refers to someone of any gender, sexuality or physical body putting a soft pack in their pants or underwear. Soft packs are often used as a means of gender expression, gender play, or simply adding a bigger bulge.