This summer I started binding or, as I like to call it, hiding the tiddie. I’ve learned a lot. Binding doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or painful as is often painted in the few depictions of binding in media. Binding can, and often is, very important for many trans and gender nonconforming folks, and I’ve listed what I’ve learned while binding below. Happy binding, friends!
- When folks tell you to drink water, they mean it. Binding is a sweaty, sweaty ordeal during the summer. You get tired. You might feel like a greasy blob. It’s sticky. It’s frankly unpleasant if you’ve been sweating and moving around a lot because it feels like your binder is rubbing your sides raw. There’s a reason that it’s advised to not wear a damp binder for long periods of time. Love yourself and change.
- Showers are magic.
- Lots of places make binders but binders made by trans and gender nonconforming folks are the binders you want if you’re binding breasts. I use the gc2b half binders and love them. Gc2b binders come in everything from skin tones to bright popping colors and are discreetly packaged. Check out gc2b here: https://www.gc2b.co/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwquTbBRCSARIsADzW88yirhtCpqCEn88XVHkveyhtTYGED-ttqF3kq7FXiIzw3N-wCLGRjtIaAv72EALw_wcB
- Buy more than one binder. You will need to change, especially when you are a hot summer mess. Binders need to be washed, and you don’t want to have to plan your life around when you wash your binder if you can help it.
- People who do not bind and have never cared about your breasts before will start to care about your breasts A LOT. Whether they are telling you to drink more water, telling you about the dangerous nature of binding (it’s only dangerous if you do it incorrectly), or asking where your breasts went (They ran away, Carol, obviously), they will have opinions. You will not ask for their opinions, especially since most of these opinions are from people who think about office supplies when they hear, “binder.” Ignore them, drink water, and listen to your body.
- Take breaks from binding. It’s helpful to even just take it off for 15 minutes.
- Don’t put your binder in the dryer. As someone who frequently forgets I’ve thrown it in the laundry, this has obviously happened. This ruins the elasticity of your binder and can make it unsafe and ineffective to wear.
- The first time you put on your binder, you’ll feel like your chest is being restricted. This feeling will go away as you wear your binder and your body gets used to binding.
- Measure, measure, measure for a binder that is properly sized. Go a size up if you’re planning on working out, swimming, or doing anything super strenuous in your binder. Again, I recommend gc2b. If your binder gets wet, take it off when you can. If you can, designate a binder to work out in, and one or two others for the day to day. I wear my properly sized binder for day to day things and my one size up binder for working out, hiking, and swimming. You can be active while binding!
- Don’t flatten your breasts out if you can. Your nipples should be pointed out, not down.
- If your binder doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. This seems obvious, but it’s something many people make exceptions to.
- If you can’t afford a binder, there are some great programs out there! Check out Point of Pride’s binder give away program here: http://point5cc.com/chest-binder-donation/
- It’s suggested that binding for years and years can degrade your breast tissue. For some folks, that’s a big deal and some of us don’t care. Make sure to talk with your surgeon about how long you’ve been binding if you’re planning on future top surgery.
- If you’re not about your binder showing at all, you’re gonna have to pay attention to the types of necklines you buy. Binders are pretty full coverage, so keep that in mind. I’m busy living that crew neck and flannel life which basically means I dress exactly the same now as I did when I was a grungy 16 year old. I’m embracing it.
- Don’t try to put a binder on if your skin is wet. If putting on a sports bra right after a shower is the first ring of Hell, putting a binder on right after a shower is the ninth ring.
- Binding doesn’t eliminate your breasts. You’re likely not going to be completely flat, and that’s okay! Button downs, zip hoodies, cardigans, and patterns are going to be your best friend if you’re binding to look flat. Binders work with those things to create a pretty snazzy illusion of flatness that nothing else will besides top surgery. Obviously, breast size plays into how flat or not flat you are. I have C cups and overall am pretty confident in how my chest looks when I bind.
- You don’t have to be trans or gender nonconforming to bind! Many of us are, but not all of us, and we have lots of different reasons to bind.
I hope these tips help. I did a lot of research before I started binding, and I’m glad I did, but there was still a lot that I learned after I started binding that I didn’t read elsewhere. Binding has given me a lot of confidence in how I exist in spaces, and has been incredibly freeing.