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  • Naomi Gonzalez and her wife Fran Dunaway created clothing startup TomboyX, a brand that aims to promote inclusivity.
  • Gonzalez took her childhood experiences of feeling different and ostracized, and aims to alleviate those same emotions for customers.
  • LGBTQ consumers spend $917 billion annually on goods and services, and gravitate toward brands that tout inclusion.

Naomi Gonzalez was 12 years old when she donned her first pair of pants.

Growing up in the ’80s and attending the Local Christian Assembly in Queens, New York – a group she now describes as a “cult” – she’d been taught that women were subordinate to men and must abstain from wearing clothes “made for men.”

“I felt something inside of me that could never be reconciled with the beliefs of the church because I was inherently different,” said Gonzalez, now 46, adding that her only option for activewear at the time was culottes, a type of flowy trouser that’s cut to resemble a skirt.

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