Anonymous asked: I wanted to know if anyone wears actual chest binders, not ace bandages, but ones like t-kingdom, underworks or double-t? I've been wearing double-t for about three years now and although i can report no physical changes i do worry about the long term implications of wearing them. I wear mine all day, as in i put it on when i dress on a morning and take it off before bed. I'm not FTM so they're not going anywhere lol, i just feel more confident and comfotable without them on show :)
Please chip in with the comments folks! I’m not a binding expert, but one thing I can tell this anon is that many of our readers bind, whether they are FTM, genderqueer, or just don’t like their boobs.
From my research and what I’ve heard, ace bandage binding is really dangerous and should be avoided all together. They are made to gradually get tighter every time they are stretched, which is what happens when you breath. Binding with ace bandage can hurt your ribs and lungs and weaken your chest muscles over time.
The general info I can find is that binding with the right kind of materials is fine as long as you take it off at night. http://transguys.com/features/chest-binding is my favorite resource on binders and health. Go Ask Alice has some great advice on what materials to use and health risks to look out for, though I disagree with them condoning ace bandage binding at all. Sadly, binding for several years at a time can lead to health risks, which is why you might want to become familiar with sports bras, save binding for days when you are wearing less layers and it’s more obvious, or consider top surgery. Top surgery is not just for FTMs! Gender is complicated and we have to do the best with the resources we have.
I cannot recommend Autostraddle’s article on breast binding because they recommend Ace Bandages and do not mention health risks. However, the comments offer some solid advice. The majority of readers speak the most highly of underworks as opposed to T-kingdom One reader wrote on their experience:
don’t use ace bandages! it is uncomfortable and dangerous! i tried ace bandages at first because i was poor, but i quickly realized i needed something better. it was too frustrating having to rewrap many times throughout the day and it wasn’t very comfortable. that’s when a friend recommended t-kingdom binders to me. they are much more comfortable than ace bandages.
t-kingdom binders are ok. i’ve had the m690 and the m1700. it definitely does its job, but i have had people notice i was wearing “something that wasn’t a bra or a shirt” when they hugged me. the material of the binding part is not very soft and the section where the velcro is can feel lumpy. it also does not breathe very well. after binding with these for the last 2 years, i am sick of the loud velcro rip when i have to adjust it or take it off. it was nice to have the velcro when i first started binding because it made it easy to put on and to adjust tightness while i was getting used to binding.”
http://chestbinders.wordpress.com also has pages of comprehensive binder reviews.
If you live in an area where you can find a trans friendly health care provider, you should find one who you feel comfortable talking to about binding. The one resource I can find that claims to have a database - The World Professional Association for Transgender Health - is not working for me when I enter Boston, and I know that the Boston area has many good providers, so your best bet might be to google the name of your city + trans friendly health care provider. Please comment if you have any more info.