Twenty-five-year-old Shane Stinson, the Plus Size Trans Guy, is full of wisdom far beyond his years. The incredibly stylish Instagrammer worked with Chubstr to produce an editorial full of great style options for everyone – no matter where they fall on the gender spectrum.
We talked with Shane about body-positivity, his process of finding himself, trans identity within the body positive movement, style inspiration, and his ride-or-die wardrobe faves.
CHUBSTR: Tell us a bit about where you’re originally from. Shane: I’m originally from Brentwood, MO. It is a small suburb to the west of St. Louis City. Both St. Louis and Brentwood really helped shape me into the person I am today. Brentwood has a small town feel. My graduating class consisted of 66 people, many of whom I went to preschool with. Over time, we created an unbelievable support system. We built each other up and grew together.
I finally found the courage to come out as queer in high school because I knew my closest friends would always have my back. Having the city at a close driving distance allowed me to experience queer culture at a young age. Dancing on the speakers at Complex Night Club gave me a queer awakening and it’s where I met people who are trans for the first time. Without these places, spaces, and experiences, I would not be me.
CHUBSTR: How do you describe your style? Which elements are key to your lifestyle and personality? Shane: I describe my style as queer, colorful, and eccentric with a sprinkle of dapper. I love to kick things up a notch and take every outfit to the next level. Adding some oomph to the traditional chinos, button-up and tie combo helps me stick out in the crowd. I enjoy creating looks that excite, inspire, and captivate.
When I am not working my 8 to 5, you will definitely see me serving some looks with pops of edge and trendy elements. My style is a direct expression of my personality and lifestyle. You’ll see my brightness and positivity reflected in the colors, my rebellious side reflected in the tattered denim and monochrome palettes, and my individualism and creativity reflected in the unique accessories I choose.
Everything about my life style and me is bold and unique. One of the ways I share and express myself with the world is through my style.
CHUBSTR: Who are your Top 5 Style Inspirations? Shane: It is so hard to choose! Instagram has helped open the doors to endless inspiration. I’m constantly able to filter through a variety of styles and trend setters that I can pull inspiration from.
From my baby queer/trans days, Ellen DeGeneres introduced me to queer/masculine style that is more dapper and professional. More recently, I’ve been into fluid looks that embrace a combination of masculine and feminine energy. Bold patterns and funky color choices have captivated me. Using accessories to level-up a basic look has opened up a completely new closet of outfits. I’ve also been thrilled to see more classic styles elevated with a modern twist.
The people who’ve been combining these elements well and blowing my mind are Tan France, Jazzmyne Robbins, Jonathan Acosta, and Troy Solomon.
CHUBSTR: What are the Top 5 “Can’t Live Without” pieces in your wardrobe? Shane: My navy and pink floral tie (Bar III from Macy’s), thrifted maroon blazer from Goodwill, black dress shoes from Tomboy Toes, Dwayne Wayne-inspired glasses from Maude Vintage, and my 90’s multicolor vertical striped short sleeve button-up from Avalon Exchange.
CHUBSTR: What inspired you to create the @PlusSizeTransGuy Instagram account? Shane: When I was first exploring my transgender identity, Tumblr, Youtube, and Instagram were essential. These sites allowed me to see and connect with other people who are transgender while reading and watching their stories.
I could see pieces of my journey in theirs, but I never saw anyone who looked like me. I could not envision what my body would look like after taking testosterone or getting top surgery. I could not even visualize what it would be like to transition as a chubbier person. It made it hard for me to feel like a part of the community because I experienced things very differently than thinner trans men.
Many of the common important steps and shared experiences for trans men were harder to navigate because of my size. For example, finding a chest binder that would fit my tummy while also flattening my larger chest was not easy. It is common for people to get top surgery and have a big reveal of their new chest. While this was an exciting time for other trans people I knew, it frightened me. Not only was I nervous that my surgery would not look good because of my size, but I was also scared about showing my husky tummy to the world.
I started @plussizetransguy as an act of self-love. I started this space so that I could share my journey of embracing my authentic self. As the following grew, I began to realize that this was the representation I needed during my transition. I recognized that this could be the place where other plus size trans-masculine people could feel like their existence and happiness matters. Where they could feel like they belong in the trans community.
This space became for others what I had been looking for: a space that positively validates and represents plus size trans-masculine people in a way that says we exist, we are worthy of being seen and loved and happy, and we deserve to look damn good.
CHUBSTR: What are three fashion tips do you wish you had when you were first transitioning? Shane: First, stick to slim and skinny fit pants that have some stretch. The bootcut and relaxed fits can make you appear more bulky, especially if you are a shorter human. Second, don’t be afraid to mix feminine elements in with your masculine style. Third, there is no right way to look or dress to be trans. Wear who you are with pride!
CHUBSTR: What can the body-positive movement do better to be more inclusive of men? Shane: I would love to see the body positive movement embrace all varieties and styles of masculinity. So often the styles highlighted in plus size sections are more traditionally masculine, relying heavily on solid neutral colors, activewear, and so forth.
I’d like to see fashion lines for plus size men highlighting and embracing more bright pops of color, funky patterns, fringe and lace, and shorter shorts. The body positive movement should work to expand the idea of what it means to be a stylish, masculine, and chubby man.
CHUBSTR: What can a person do to stay body-positive while fighting gender dysphoria? Shane: This is a difficult question because every trans person’s relationship with their body is different. Some trans people will struggle with issues related to their body, but not all trans people dislike their bodies. If there was any advice I could give to someone, it would be, “Your body is yours. There is no right way to be a certain gender or have a body. Decisions about your body are yours to make. Do what you need to do to love yourself whole-heartedly.”
CHUBSTR: What would you tell someone who is struggling to love their body right now? Shane: Self-love is a journey, not a destination. The process is not linear and some days will feel phenomenal and others not so great. Start small. Find those things you do love about yourself and your body. Emphasize them. Use your style to accentuate those things you love and appreciate. Slowly, your list of things you love will grow and you will begin to see how incredibly beautiful you and your body are.