Alternative binding methods

Questions and discussions about gender, gender roles and identity.
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Alternative binding methods

Unread postby 0PT1M15T1C » Mon Mar 16, 2020 9:58 pm

So, I've been binding for about a year and a half using GC2B binders, they work pretty great but lately I've had some problems with it.

I'm an athlete, so I stay pretty active, and have always worn my binder for working out, and up until recently I haven't had issues with that. I know obviously, you're not supposed to bind when working out, but realistically, I think it would be worse to take it off than to wear it, I'd prefer to be in pain than look female. I don't think I gave binding while working out a whole lot of thought before, I've always gone swimming, worked out in and honestly, I don't understand how it's possible not to wear a binder for less than 8 hours a day, because in my schedule it's not possible. Lately I think I've definitely been having some issues though that I don't want to take too lightly because they are kind of about my health, and I don't want them to take me out of events. I the biggest piece coming to mind that said something was off is that during gym, we do a 12 minute run, for me, this run is usually no problem. What ended up happening though is a little while ago, I was about a minute in and there was a very sharp pain in my side, there's a difference between a cramp and this, and I knew something was wrong, let my teacher know and of course he just wanted to push me and let me know that I'm an athlete and that I could do it. - great advice. So, I pushed through in tears for most of the run and after went to the bathroom where I cried a bit. I noticed that's not uncommon anymore for me, and for a while, I wanted to say it was cramps, but I know the difference and I've never had an issue with cramps in that way, not in this area of my body anyways. Also, being sick showed me that it might've been a bigger issue because eventually with coughing, I couldn't stand the pain anymore, and then although it's not much, it's become a noticeable pain when I touch my ribs on the left side. All of those aren't good things obviously, but I can't go without binding, so I'm wondering if anyone else has struggled with this, maybe has some tips or suggestions? Or maybe some ideas for alternative binding? I know there's been other things mentioned in other threads of mine and a lot of them I do, such as clothing, but I'm unsure what to do because I'm thinking I need a break from my binder.

Even around the house, I typically don't leave my room without my binder on because especially my brother loves making jokes about breasts and they just make me so uncomfortable, he knows it and has stopped some of it, like he doesn't tell me to "calm my tits" anymore which grosses me out even typing. It's just not a great feeling I guess. I call him on the other things because he just really doesn't get it and I think it's going to require more of a discussion than the one we had when he was in like 5th grade. I know how important it is to be safe with binding, I've read up on it, and I don't really need to hear more about that piece. I have new binders coming in soon, I believe, I have to double check that my mom ordered them but a big part of the reason my style changed was so my chest is hidden even with a binder on. I have a smaller chest (if you know how the sizing runs, the only reason I go into small rather than extra small is because I have broad shoulders, my shoulders put me at a borderline medium. Navigating that whole piece was interesting, and a real guess), I always have and I'm incredibly grateful for it, but it stresses me out thinking that it might be visible.

I want to be safe with this, so any help would be very much appreciated. I don't really think this is something I want to be toying with too much.

I also want to say, I have actually taken a look through https://www.scarleteen.com/trans_summer ... ssion_gear like I know it's saying certain bras work but honestly, I don't even know where to really begin on that one. I have a 10k in May, actually, that might be cancelled, but like, I am not going out in public without a binder.
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Mo
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Re: Alternative binding methods

Unread postby Mo » Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:58 pm

I know this is a very tough part of wearing binders: the safest ways to wear them (no longer than 8 hours at a time and not during exercise) don't always line up with what feels acceptable in terms of appearance and presentation, especially around other people. Still, though, it's really concerning that you're noticing rib pain after that run; binders can cause serious problems in that area when worn for long periods of time or during exercise. I really can't recommend wearing them during exercise at all, but at the same time I absolutely understand why you're choosing to do so.

The Frog Bra, mentioned on that Trans Summer School page, is sold by the Title Nine brand and can be ordered online; this is something I would strongly recommend investing in for exercise, if at all possible. When I was looking for binding options it was long enough ago that there were very few binders commercially available (and none that were specifically designed for a trans consumer base), and a lot of people used the Frog Bra as a binding option that had the benefit of being all right for exercise and other physical exertion. My own experience is that it didn't flatten things out as much as a true binder would but it absolutely got me 80% of the way there at least.

0PT1M15T1C
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Re: Alternative binding methods

Unread postby 0PT1M15T1C » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:38 pm

It feels pretty heartbreaking to be dealing with this, before binding and before all of this happened I never thought it would actually be me having the problems I am. I had heard of other people having those problems and while I did have the same issues while taping and ace bandage binding (obviously not safe, and I haven't done either in years), this is a pretty massive "oh crap" moment for me I guess.

I did take quite a look at those mentioned, and I'll probably look into getting one (because 80% is a lot better than let's say 50%). But also - I thought I had thrown everything I had out when I moved, seen as I got rid of everything else even remotely feminine. Turns out, I kept the few that are quite similar to that design, which is good because at least I can do that at home. I don't know if I want to mention this to my mom though, that might be an issue. I told her binding was safe and gave her a whole bunch of examples, it took like a year of asking for her to finally be on board - I don't want to compromise that. If she finds out about me having issues with my ribs, I don't know if she'd be okay with it. For home, I'm glad I found those (I've never worn anything but athletic fit sports bras aside from binders) but I don't think I'd be able to function if I left the house without a binder on.

I know KT tape is an option, or "trans tape": but I'm thinking that gets pricey fast, and I don't know if anyone here really has any experience with that?

Edit: Also, oh my gosh, I don't know how I put up with wearing these things for so long, these feel disgusting.
You have the power to say "This is not how my story will end".

Mo
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Re: Alternative binding methods

Unread postby Mo » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:46 pm

In terms of talking with your mom, maybe you could talk about wanting a compression sports bra for exercise because it's more comfortable, allows you to breathe more efficiently, gives you a better range of motion, and/or would be less sweaty than a full-coverage binder; there are certainly reasons other than safety why you might want one and you could lead with those. I'm glad you found some sports bras to use at home, at least; hopefully that can give you a little more time out of your binder.

I don't personally have any experience with KT tape and don't know a lot about using it for binding purposes, but perhaps someone who does will chime in with some thoughts on it. :)

0PT1M15T1C
not a newbie
Posts: 309
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:44 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: I can build things
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Location: Canada

Re: Alternative binding methods

Unread postby 0PT1M15T1C » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:04 pm

Alright, I'll definitely give that some thought, although quite honestly I don't think I can ask her to look into getting me those, she's made a lot of progress with me being trans and I really don't want to move backwards. Even with those other reasons, they do make sense I just think if I'm asking her for something like that, it wouldn't be 100% viewed as "oh you need something you can work out in better". I don't think I want to take that risk, she's talking about getting me into a gender clinic and I think this would raise questions for if I'm looking for a way out - I think in time I'll be able to sort this out, and hopefully now that schools done working out with the other alternatives (I'd mainly be working out at home now) will at least give my ribs enough of a break to be somewhat okay. The pain I mentioned, didn't just hurt, it was enough to be scary and it's not a fun game balancing physical and emotional/mental health.

Thank you so much, for that option and the replies.
You have the power to say "This is not how my story will end".

Mo
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 1887
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:57 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: I'm always wearing seriously fancy nail polish.
My primary language: English
My pronouns: he/him, they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queer/bisexual

Re: Alternative binding methods

Unread postby Mo » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:08 pm

You're welcome! I get how this is a tricky issue to balance. Working out at home will hopefully give you more options and give your ribs a bit of a break.


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