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  • Trans Field Guide

Stashing the Queen's Jewels - Tucking

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

(Originally Aired on 8/3/19. Voiced by Blake Alter)

Tucking. In the opinion of some trans women it's an unfortunate necessity. For others, it's a pain and a hassle. But what is tucking anyway? Why do some trans women choose to do it while others avoid it at all cost?

Let's start with the first question: what is tucking. Well the short answer is that it's the process in which a person tucks their genitalia as close to the pelvis between their legs as possible in order to create the look of perceived feminine genitalia when wearing clothes.

But of course in practice it's never that simple. These are some complex and very sensitive bits we're talking about here. So let's jump right into the process. There are technically two ways to go about it, that are very similar and the only real difference has to do with where you're putting the testes.

The inguinal canal is the space through which the testes pass when they are lowered during fetal development. Once the testes have lowered into their space in the scrotum, the entryway back into the pelvic cavity still exists. In one method of tucking, you very very carefully reinsert the testes back through the opening into the pelvic cavity. You then take the phallus and scrotum and pull them back toward your tail bone and keep them in place with a gaff.

If you're not comfortable with the whole concept or practice of trying to get those pesky things back where they came from, there are women who just pull the whole kit and kaboodle back and pull on a gaff.

Well what's a gaff, you might ask? That's simply a piece of reinforced cloth that keeps all your bits where you just went through all the trouble to put them. There are some people who use tape, but that's not recommend for the following reasons: the tape can cause damage to already sensitive skin; sweat and friction can cause the tape to come off prematurely, undoing all your hard work; and you can't really go to the bathroom. Because of these and other reasons, it's not practical for extended use. Meanwhile you can either purchase one of many different kinds of gaffs on the internet, or you can make one yourself using a tube sock and the waistband of a pair of tights.

So why do some trans feminine people dislike or outright refuse to do it? Well to start it's not always the most comfortable thing to do. It makes using the restroom a more complicated process because you have to re-tuck afterwards. Some people cannot find or even make a gaff that successfully keeps everything in place, which causes stress, anxiety, and embarrassment. Not to mention that in following the process of placing your testes back into the pelvic cavity, you could run the risk of complications including testicular torsion if done incorrectly.

However, even with all that, some consider tucking a necessity for safety when out in public space. With violence and harassment so prevalent, especially against trans women of color, and the heightened scrutiny people in general have of trans feminine individuals’ ability to "pass", there are some who feel this practice is extremely important to do.

Some things you can do to make this process a little easier is to be mindful of what clothing you wear. For example, when going to the beach or pool, you could wear a skirtini, which is just a bikini with a skirt. This provides some extra coverage just in case anything gets shifted. In general you'll find that looser fitting pants and skirts are more forgiving in that area, but there are those who feel that this makes them more self conscious, or that those clothes are not as fun to wear. In the end, you have to weigh comfort against personal aesthetics.

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