On Wednesdays we like to spotlight people/brands in the community that are doing wonderful things and that we think that our supporters would love as well. (We know it's Thursday, but shhh) This week we sat down with our good friends over at Support Your Brothers. In their own words: "Support Your Brothers was started as a blog on Tumblr to bring individuals within the transmasculine community together to connect with one another, share each others’ stories, support each other, submit fundraisers, etc. Quickly expanding into an online store, 100% of the profits go back into the trans community via binder donations, packer donations, giveaways, fundraiser donations, etc."
So who are you? Can you give us a brief introduction?
Drew Tumlinson - 22, FTM/transmasculine man, I'm a web developer and designer by day and the owner of Support Your Brothers by night. At my core, I’m a webmaster with a focus on web development.
Ashtyn Riley-23, FTM, right now I am working full-time and going to school full-time for accounting and finance. I work to pay for my transition and school. I also help run SYB during the free time that I have. I’m hoping that one day my background in business will help to get SYB to take off. I want to devote a lot more of my time to it once school is finished.
How did Support Your Brothers come to be?
I (Drew) started it as a support blog for transguys to submit their fundraisers, selfies, questions, etc. I really wanted it to be a positive place for transguys. I didn’t define “positive” from the get-go because I wanted it to be defined by our audience. Overall, I wanted it to be an audience-oriented space where no topics related to being trans or transitioning were off limits.
What inspired you to create SYB?
I (again, Drew) wanted a place for guys to share their fundraisers, stories, advice, and overall just connect with other trans guys. I think our stories are important but they can't make a difference if we don't share them. I wanted, and still want, Support Your Brothers to be a platform for sharing.
How did y’all end up partnering up?
Ashtyn replied to a “help wanted” post on tumblr. We did a Skype interview and the rest, as they say, is history. We ended up really clicking and having a lot in common so I gave him the position. Like I said, he's now my best friend (ok, besides my gorgeous fiancé).
What’s the goal with SYB?
Originally I just wanted to raise some extra money to support my transition. However, Ashtyn will be having top surgery very soon, so our profits are going to his surgery. Ultimately, our goal is positivity. If we're spreading good vibes and encouraging people to be true to themselves, we are successful. In the future we hope to follow FLAVNT’s footsteps and partner up with transmasculine individuals looking to get gender affirming surgeries.
What’s your favorite part of running a community based project like SYB?
I love the connections we can make with other brothers (and sisters, really - we love you Courtney!). I also love knowing that we provide a space for people to be true to themselves. That’s been something I struggled with over the years so to know we’re helping people in that way is beyond satisfactory.
My (Ashtyn speaking) favorite part is knowing that I am making a difference in the community, even if it’s not a big one. I love the connections I’ve made with people (especially you two) and knowing that I am able to help other people get through their difficult situations whether it’s with their transitions or just life. It’s also nice giving people a space where they feel safe and can be who they really are without worrying about what others think. I know for a while I kept my identity a secret because I was afraid of what people would think of me and now I really don’t care what people think of me (you either like me or you don’t) and embrace who I am. I want others to be able to do that.
Any big plans for the future?
One day we hope to gain even more momentum and be able to help even more people feel confident in their own skin. The ultimate goal is to be able to help guys get the products they need that they may not be able to afford (binders, for example) and fund their completely necessary surgeries.
Any advice for anyone/words of encouragement for people trying to make a difference in/give back to the community?
Drew: Honestly? Hit us up! We’re always looking for more insight from other perspectives, reps, and even people to help run our social media. If you want to make a difference in the community but have your own ideas, write down what you want and go for it. Ask people for help. Ask for advice. Get all the help and support you can and run. Don’t stop until you’re satisfied and have made the difference you wanted to make. Once you’ve done that, make a new goal and start the process over.
Ashtyn: My advice would be, if you have an idea or a dream just go for it 100%. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. The only way you’re going to get what you want in life is to bust your ass working for it and when you reach your goals you’re going to feel like a badass. Never settle, once you’ve reached one goal, set a new one and go for it.
We love what Drew and Ashtyn are doing over at SYB and can't wait to see where the coming year takes them. As a small queer business, we know how hard it is getting off the ground but, even more so, we know how important it is to help out other queer people and empower them to be successful. We love seeing other businesses actively giving back and helping people and these two guys have genuine hearts of gold. Take the time to go show Support Your Brothers some love, give them a follow, shoot them a message if you need some advice, and buy some of their stylish gear. It all goes to a good cause. Stay rad and support your brothers!