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Debriefing in Binding: What to Know Before You Chest Bind

An unfortunate consequence for transmen with high levels of estrogen is that, unfortunately, ya got boobies. Quite the bummer for those wanting to pass as a cis dude.

What’s worse, the weight of skin and fat on your chest causes dysphoria that tends to weigh you down as well. “If only I didn’t have breasts,” you say, slouching into yourself, “I’d feel a hell of a lot better.” 

Fret not, my man, for there is a solution for you. To get the flat chest you’ve always wanted, you can bind your breasts and give yourself a more masculine appearance.

“Hell yeah! I’ll do it right now!”

Wait wait wait. There are some things you have to know before you go rocking that flat chest.

Know Thy Self

Ask yourself why it is that you want to bind in the first place? Sure, it’ll be to give yourself a flatter chest, but in what situations?

Do you want to bind:

    • To stop yourself from feeling the weight of your boobs?
    • To pass as a cis dude in social situations (eg, work, school, public) 
    • To feel more androgynous, but not necessarily pass as male.
    • For certain events, like prom or a big date?

Knowing the specific reasons why you want to bind can help you foresee the situations in which you will and won’t be using your binder. This will allow you to choose the binder that best fits those situations and the needs they create.

Know Thine Safety

Now that you know where and when you will be binding, now it’s time to choose the right binder.

Because, yes, to bind safely you have to buy a binder.

I’m not gonna fuck around with you, dude. You have to buy a binder to have a flat chest. No getting around it. No duct tape and no ace bandages. Those cause permanent body damage that I don’t even have time to get into now.

If any transdude out there binds with those two terrible products, I will personally smack them off you. Don’t do it, even if it staves off the dysphoria.

Mental discomfort should not manifest into permanent physical mutilation. This is not the metaphor you want. Don’t do it.

Got it? Let’s proceed.

Know Thine Wallet

Now that you were thoroughly threatened into purchasing a binder, it’s time to review the type of binders that exist. 

The brand I use is GC2B. I’ve personally used them in the past, and I think they’re the bee’s knees. They’re affordable, available in various colors, and last quite a long time (if you take care of them properly). Best part is that GC2B makes binders by transmen for transmen, so that’s awesome. I get a flat chest and seriously pass as a dude when I wear this binder.

Another popular brand, though one I haven’t worn personally, is Underworks. I’ve heard good things about the company, though, from other transguys. They offer a wider range of products, ranging from chest binders to body tunics to sleeveless swim tops. Best part is that Underworks will donate one binder to someone in need every time you purchase from them. They’re about the same price as GC2B and are available on Amazon, so you can’t go wrong with either brand. 

I’d avoid cheap binders on Amazon and other corners of the internet. While it’s enticing to save money, a binder is truly something where you get what you pay for. Splurge a little and you won’t have to worry about passing out from a shittily made binder. 

Know Thine Own Time

So you bought your binder and can’t wait to put it on, damn near ripping it in half as you tear through the packaging. You struggle to put it on, but after the last few adjustments you feel it snugly cover your rib cage.

You look in the mirror and your breasts are barely noticeable. A long-buried feeling bubbles up to the surface. You smile at the mirror, grinning like an idiot as you turn from side to side. You look good, dude. 

After throwing on that button down or polo, you strut around town feeling like the most badass motherfucker that’s ever walked this planet. For once you don’t have to slouch. For once you finally feel like you own your body. You vow that you will never take your binder off again.

But, sorry to break it to you, the binder’s got to come off.

It’s just the nature of constriction that forces you to take it off every eight hours, max. To not do so means walking into the dangerous waters of permanent back damage, asphyxiated tissue, and a whole slew of other maladies.

Sorry dude, I know. It’s gonna suck taking it off and feeling that heaviness again. But think of it as fodder for motivation to get that top surgery you’ve been dreaming about. A binderless life could be yours forever. You just have to get through it now, and I promise you can get through it.

Take aways

  • To bind your chest, get a binder. No duct tape, Ace bandages, or other bullshit. 
  • Only bind for the 8-10 hours a day. 

Other sources to check out:

  • Inside the Landmark, Long Overdue Study on Chest Binding. A long, well-researched article describing how prevalent chest binding is among the queer community, even though there’s not a lot of medical research discussing the impacts of binding. Luckily, one expansive study finally sheds light on the issues trans/GNC folks endure while binding. 
  • What It’s Like to Wear a Chest Binder. A Buzzfeed video where qeer, trans, or Gender Non-Conforming individuals talk about their experience binding, when they first started doing it, why they do or don’t continue to do it, and the worst parts of binding. However you feel about Buzzfeed, it’s a pretty good, informative video. 
  • Binding 101: Tips to Bind Your Chest Safely. If you’ve gone on Youtube and googled anything trans, you’ve probably come across Aydian Dowling, the beautiful transman. Point 5cc is his website and this article offers some great advice for binding, as well as other sources to buy binders or get donated binders. 

Go forth and bind safely, my friends.

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