I am now 16 days on testosterone! There’s not much to report as of yet, so instead I decided to make a post about binding, as its a very important to me at the moment.
I’ve talked in previous posts about gender dysphoria, and that some trans people experience it. For many transmasculine people, one source of physical dysphoria can be our chests, our bodies have already gone through an oestrogen-based puberty and have developed breasts. It can be common for afab trans people to have a disconnection to their breasts. To alleviate this dysphoria many seek compression methods to flatten their chest into a more “masculine” silhouette.
A common, efficient and safe method of compression, are binders. Binders are usually made from durable nylon and/or spandex. I’ll link this page for more in depth information about binding, in this post I am just going to talk about my experience with binding. In particular the two (arguably most popular) binder companies; GC2B and Underworks.
I have had a disconnect from my chest since puberty, but I just assumed everyone felt how I felt, and that we all just had to deal with it. I’ve spoken about this a little in previous posts, but while in high school I became more involved in my local LGBT+ community. This was initially due to becoming more involved with my cosplay community. Cosplaying is the act of dressing up as a characters from pop culture. Through cosplay I had an excuse to try out male characters, which meant I was able to have a reason for buying a binder.
So I was around 16, give or take a year when I started binding. I only binded for special occasions, like cosplay events and outings with friends where I could be myself. My first binder was The Ultimate Chest Binder Tank from Underworks, unfortunately I cannot remember the size I got. It is a full length tank, which I wanted because I had some dysphoria about my hips and my stomach. The aim was that this would compress my breasts, right down to the top of my thighs. The material is unpleasant and the seams dug in quite painfully. I found the length way too long and I was often folding the excess up to double layer over my chest (Please don’t do that! It is not safe! And it didn’t really look anymore compressed than usual.) If I did wear it long; the material would roll itself into a tight bunch around the top of my thighs which was painful and awkward to fix. Later when I was deciding on whether to get a new binder, I tried to repurpose this one by cutting it into a crop. This was adequate for a few more months as I waited for a new binder.
My next binder was Nude No.5 Half by GC2B, I got it in a size 3XL. I can’t remember exactly when it was bought but it was at least, 3 years ago. I have since loved this binder so much that I bought two more in a size 2XL. Those last two were bought 6 months ago when I decided I wanted to bind full time as I had come out at work and wanted to be seen as male by society.
I love this binder, I’m not perfectly flat, but with being a bigger person, with saggy bulky breasts I think its as comfortably flat as I will be able to get without surgery. I wear these binders for 6+ hours a day, they are very comfortable and easy to put on and take off. One thing I do find is, especially with long time wear, my breasts move around and I can end up with mass of breast in the middle of my chest. This can be resolved by wearing a undershirt, like a light tank, or a full material sport bra. I have a tonne of these stretch cotton sports bra’s from Target, which help keep my breasts in place under the binder.
The material is fairly breathable, the back panel is thin and contours and smooth my back. The straps are thick and don’t show noticeably under shirts. I put this binder on like a T-shirt, over my head, keeping it as flat as possible. The longer I stay in my binder the more uncomfortable I become. I do get constricted and breathless often, and my back also can hurt after a few hours.
I really hope in the near future I will be able to get top surgery (a bilateral mastectomy and male chest reconstruction) but for now my binder gets me as comfortably flat as I can get. Stay tuned for a T-update, and a post I am working on about surgeons in Australia who can preform top surgery!