Sorting and organizing clothing by gender has been a practice for decades, but a thrift store run by a Labrador women’s shelter is changing the practice to better reflect and include the community.
Thrifty Fashions at Happy Valley-Goose Bay, run by the Mokami Status of Women Council, has been a community staple for decades, providing free clothing to people in shelters and those in need on the North Labrador Coast.
Now the staff are modernizing the store by no longer distinguishing between clothes as “men” or “women”.
“We want people to come here and feel safe, feel, recognize, feel recognized. So we’re going to start organizing our store and sorting our donations by item rather than gender,” said Stacey Hoffe, Director executive of the organization.
Mokami has launched a new campaign, called Clothes Have No Gender, which encourages people to wear what they feel comfortable in, regardless of the label. Hofffe said it was part of a commitment announced last summer to make the organization more inclusive for people of diverse genders.
Jade Rachwal, a Gender Non-Compliant Safe Alliance volunteer in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, said it was great to see the commitment to providing a safe space.
“I think the campaign is certainly telling the truth as long as clothes don’t have a gender, and it can be a very positive thing to challenge gender norms which are often quite restrictive,” Rachwal said.
Rachwal said Mokami has supported the LGBTQ community for a number of years and that she is happy to see this continue. Mokami posted on social media that the organization had been part of the problem in the past by excluding people “of different genders through binary policies, binary procedures and binary thinking,” according to his Facebook post. , and strives to change. Rachwal said it was a positive step.
“I absolutely respect that Mokami is open in recognizing that they can change and improve. It’s incredibly healthy because I think all of us, as we work to be more inclusive, will find ways to improve. as you go, ”Rachwal said.
Manager hopes for more space for the second-hand store
Thrifty Fashions director Dawn Crocker said it was a welcome change. Crocker has stood up for those in need after a friend of his died on the trails of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
“She was a dear friend of mine from my previous job and I just thought, you know, it shouldn’t be. There are people in our community who are in need and their needs are being met. And I don’t. want no one else to suffer like she did, ”Crocker said.
The Labrador woman started a blanket drive soon after and is now able to distribute blankets, mittens, hats, jackets and more to those in need. The Mokami Status of Women Council has a free voucher program for parents or those in need where they can redeem them for clothes.
“Even if it’s a pair of socks or a pair of mittens or a woolen scarf, you know they’re going to be warm and it’s a safe place to come and ask for some. help, ”Crocker said. “It’s a very rewarding position when you see the looks on people’s faces.”
Crocker said it was very busy and the store had received so many donations that it had to close its doors to receive donations for three weeks over the summer. Along with the labeling changes, Crocker said, she hopes to have more space in the future.