Welcome to “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” GO Magazine’s brand new interview series that profiles a different queer lady each day, by asking her seven unique (and sometimes random) questions. Get to know the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of the groundbreaking, fierce forces-of-nature in the queer community.
I first heard about TomboyX through my greatest source of fashion inspiration, Instagram, naturally.
All of my favorite models, celesbians, queer-icons and fashion-mavens seemed to be, collectively, sporting these fabulous gender-neutral undies. Regardless of their size, their gender identity, sexual identity, race, or personal style; every entity rocking TomboyX looked incredibly cool.
I immediately coveted a pair, went to the TomboyX website (during work hours, shhh) and purchased a pair for myself.
I became a cult-fan of TomboyX instantly. The underwear is not only supremely soft and comfortable, they make me feel like a stronger, fiercer version of myself. They represent the inherent tomboy lingering within me, the (as defined on their website) “energetic, sometimes boisterous girl” that not everyone sees through my outer expression of personal style, but exists at the foundation of who I am, at my core.
After all, isn’t underwear the most intimate thing we adorn to our naked flesh? If the most, intimate part of ourselves isn’t representative of who we truly are, aren’t we going to walk through the world, a little uncomfortable in our own skin? TomboyX makes me move through the world with confidence, their underwear makes me feel proud to be me, whether I’m rocking the leather pants or the frilly dress.
Of course, I had to know who the masterminds behind this emotionally nuanced brand was. That’s when I discovered the brilliant, intelligent and refreshingly kind women behind the underwear revolution, Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez!
And it’s time you, GO readers, got to know the power-couple with hearts of pure gold, as well. Their story is inspiring, their work changes lives and affirms identities, and their unrelenting message of acceptance is one that’s well-needed in this ever-increasing divisive world.
It’s our honor to present to you, today’s seven minutes in heaven with TomboyX founders Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez.
GO Magazine: Who are you and what do you do?
Naomi Gonzalez: Naomi, Gonzalez, COO, and Co-Founder of TomboyX.
Fran Dunaway: Fran Dunaway, CEO, and co-founder of TomboyX.
GO: What is the driving force behind your work/activism
NG: The desire to fulfill an unmet need. The customer response to our brand and the hunger for what we are doing became a responsibility that I felt and continue to feel compelled to honor. I’m a first-generation Cuban who grew up in New York City. We were working class and my parents always struggled to make ends meet, working all the time. I knew at an early age that I was going to do whatever I could to find a way to fulfill my dreams of doing something different and meaningful with my life.
FD: My absolute belief in the good in people and the wrongness of condemning each other because of our differences. If we try to understand one another and our life experiences, we can learn so much about living. When I see or hear people filled with negativity or hate, I just can’t understand why they would want to feel so bad inside. I don’t think it’s that hard to step outside of your comfort zone and look at things from a different perspective.
GO: Where do you go for inspiration when you’re feeling discouraged or depleted?
FD: A little cabin north of Seattle with a gorgeous eagle eye view of Puget Sound. Total rejuvenation.
NM: Long walks along Puget Sound with my wife and my dog.
GO: Who are your biggest queer lady role models?
FD: Two people come to mind, bookends of my work life, if you will. Rita Mae Brown and her book “Rubyfruit Jungle” changed my life. Reading her words and identifying with a character who overcomes obstacles and embraces life as the person who she truly is, with the certitude that she’s ok and the people who think otherwise are just misinformed. At least that’s my recollection, it has been decades since I read it… And then there is Jeanette Winterson. “Written on the Body” is brilliant.
And then there is Rain Dove, a person I admire and respect a great deal. They always have so much to say and such a kind perspective on what’s wrong in the world. She challenges us to rethink gender, gender-expression and how we treat each other based on those biases. I still have so much to learn and some constructs to rethink and I feel that they’re always there to listen and respond in a way that I feel welcomed to question. They are a beautiful human being and a role model for all of us.
NG: We have a dear friend, Gladys, who is a very successful entrepreneur who takes life in stride. She’s brilliant, she’s kind, she’s generous. She’s an incredible leader in the LGBTQ community, a great manager of people who never looses her cool. I’m always inspired by how she never lets anything ruffle her feathers. Her competence is always evident and I’m in awe of it.
GO: Describe yourself in three words?
NG: Stubborn, ambitious, dreamer.
FD: Inquisitive, persistent, positive.
GO: What music are you listening to right now?
FD: Well, my dog Maggie and I have a ‘song’ that we dance to. Katy Perrys “Swish Swish” always gets me off the couch and moving. But, that move the kid with the backpack did on SNL is really hard! Only a select few have ever, or will ever, see my attempts. It does cause a good laugh.
And I’m kind of obsessed with “Christine and the Queens.” Their song Tilted plays in my mind like a soundtrack. Heloise is so talented, smart and fascinating. I saw her in concert a few months ago and dream of traveling the world as a groupie. But alas, I’ve got a company to run.
NG: Swish, Swish by Katy Perry. It’s been the song of the summer and really fun to try to do that dance with friends. It always makes me smile when I think about us trying to do that dance. Watching Fran try to get our dog Maggie to dance along is hysterical. Last night I went to bed with Bach’s cello suites playing in my head.
GO: Where can people find you?
FD: @fdunaway is my twitter handle. Reach out!
NG: Chained to my desk at work or wandering the world with Fran.