Chest binding is the act of compressing the chest in order to make it look flat. It is most commonly done by transgender and non-binary individuals however some cosplayers also do this in order to look more like the character they're portraying. It is done to create the illusion of a flat chest. Binding is a choice and it is completely up to the individual whether they bind or not. If someone chooses not to bind their chest, it does not make them less of who they are. I identify as trans (ftm) and I do use a binder in order to pass more as male, but I know others that choose not to. And that is completely okay! However for those who want to start binding, or for those who just want to educate themeslves on it, here are some do's and don'ts for binding safely!
DO NOT buy a cheap binder from amazon or ebay. I understand money can sometimes be an issue but these binders are made cheaply and can cause issues later on. Save up and buy a good binder from companies such as GC2B or Underworks. (I personally suggest GC2B as they are a company specifically made for trans/non-binary indivuduals). However if money is a serious issue there are several charities that give out free binders. You just fill in a form with your size and you'll be contacted when there's one available.
DO wash your binder regularly.
DO NOT in any cirumstances use ace bandages to bind. They're dangerous and will cause problems in the future. It may even stop you from being able to get top surgery.
DO measure yourself properly. It can be a little difficult to do this alone so perhaps get a friend to help you.
DO NOT go down a size when buying a binder. Binder are made to be tight. If you get a size roo small it could restrict your breathing, cause injuries or might not fit at all (if you buy a binder and you find its too small, most companies will be happy to replace it as long as there are no marks or tears.
DO make sure you can breathe in your binder before going out. They're supposed to be tight, but not so much that your breathing is restricted. If this is the case consider looking into getting another size.
DO NOT wear your binder for more than 8 hours. This can and will cause problems in the future if done regularly. If you find yourself in a position where you'll be out for a longer amount of time consider taking a break in between.
DO stretch while wearing your binder in order to make it fit to your body.
DO NOT excercise or sleep in your binder! Again, this can cause problems and is not good for your breathing. If you excercise regularly and are dysphoric of your chest, there are specific sports binders you can get (sports bras also work!)
DO research on how to properly put on a binder. Most binders are put on by stepping into it and pulling it up. However some binders are made to be pulled down over the head (GC2B binders are an example of this). If you buy your binder from a safe and proper company you should be sent instructions either via email or with the package. Be sure to read these before putting it on.
DO NOT worry if you are not compltely flat chested. Humans come in different sizes and not everyone will look the same. Most cis men do not have flat chests so keep this in mind when wearing your binder. However if you're still worried, try to wear loose clothing over your binder to make your chest look smaller.
DO adjust your chest once you've put the binder on. Make sure your nipples are facing forwards instead of down as this is safer. However keep in mind that this isn't always possible with larger chests.
I hope this article has been helpful for those of you who are interested in binding! If you have any questions about this article please feel free to message us via the chat on our website, or you can contact us on our various social media platforms. Remember to stay safe while binding!
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.