Trans Awareness Week at LSBU: A mother's story of innovation

Thursday, November 17, 2022 Online Event

For Trans Awareness Week 2022 at LSBU, we've chosen to focus on how innovation can lead to greater inclusiveness and representation. Through two events, our speakers will demonstrate how the way we show up for others is often unique. Sometimes, advocacy and activism looks a little different to what our established ideas & notions might be.


During this lunch & learn session, we'll learn how Summer He-van Zijl, a Surrey-based mum, was inspired by her transgender child’s bravery and confidence to leave her role in HR in order to develop and launch her own brand of innovative underwear specifically designed for trans people.

Some of the designs are truly unique, like the world’s first combination reusable period and packing boxers - the first underwear of its kind ever made for trans men, non-binary and gender-diverse people who were assigned female at birth.

The reason?

"My daughter was frustrated at the lack of options of underwear for trans girls. For my daughter, and many other transgender individuals all over the world, having the right functional garments available is extremely important. They use clothing to express and convey their identity especially when access to medical interventions is not possible or limited with clothing being one of the most crucial ways of helping reduce dysphoria" (the sense that your sex assigned at birth doesn't align with your gender identity).

Working alone, Summer had to learn everything about running a clothing business; from design & manufacturing to marketing & consumer engagement. As a result of her hard work, perseverance and passion, Secret Hevan was born. The website was launched at the end of April and the products are now available to buy online – the response has been amazing.

The response?

The feedback has been amazing. From customer testimonials about the quality & effectiveness of the product to general support, it's clear Secret Hevan is making a difference. Comments include statements such as

  • "These are a dream product”
  • "So happy to see this is a thing!”
  • "I just want to say how much I love your business and what you do for us! The story of your business is also so so heartwarming and I can tell how much you love the community.”

Summer and her family even ran a small stall at various Pride events earlier this year which was met with an overwhelming amount of positivity from visitors. People loved to hear the story of the brand and to meet her daughter!

Join us as we hear from Summer about the process of designing her product, some of the challenges, her social media engagement & more in what promises to be a heartwarming story of heart, soul & innovation. Please share this with anyone you feel might be interested or benefit from attending.

T his event is a collaboration between Secret Hevan and two of LSBU's staff networks - the LGBTQ+ & Allies Network and GenderNet, the gender equality network.

You're also invited to attend the following event:

T rans Awareness Week at LSBU: Computer games, awareness & empathy

Tuesday 15 November, 6pm - 8pm (in person)