As the Indian queer community, we often have very less resources to turn to for our specific needs – especially when it comes to details like binders or queer centric clothing.
In an attempt to start bridging this gap, we put together some information through our own research and by asking our queer family for those looking to use binders, or even if you already use them and want to read about more experiences!
What is Binding?
Binding is a technique used to minimize the appearance of a person’s breasts. It is most commonly used by Gender Non Conforming people and Trans Men, but can be used by anybody.
What is a binder?
Breasts can be bound using duct tape (not recommended), an elastic/spandex-y t-shirt and other compression undergarments that look like camisoles.
A typical binder is uncomfortable- simply because they’re made very tight and in materials that are not comfortable to skin. This calls for better innovation for queer people to choose from.
How does one use a binder?
Depending on the binding method, one can either wear a binder or bind their breasts themselves with the use of cloth/duct tape/ broad elastic.
Binding is not advised for people who have asthma/lung issues and health concerns with their spinal cords.
Binding with duct tape and other DIY materials are not safe for the body and are not recommended. Using a proper binder is the best solution.
Where can I find one?
“Amazon India has binders in the price range of 300-600 approximately. Gc2b is a great option and they have a very good size chart that will help you pick the right binder, but they are a little expensive.” – @samstxgram
“There are a few options on Amazon but the size charts don’t seem trustworthy. AliExpress has a bunch of options and they are relatively cheap and have proper size charts. But not all Indian debit cards work on AliExpress. Might need a credit card. gc2b and gendergear.ca are overall popularly recommended by both higher websites as well as on blogs by queer and trans peeps. They both deliver to India but with the exchange rate and shipping, it is not cheap. gc2b has a binder donation program. It will take time to get it via that as they are still meeting requests from early 2018 but it is free and they have worldwide shipping. I got one just a week ago from gendergear.ca by asking a friend in Canada to order it to a mutual friend who I was meeting. Their size chart is very accurate, and also send a handy little booklet on binders. The website also has a good amount of information on this. gc2b has more varieties in binders with respect to colours etc.” – Savi, Non Binary
Tips and Trix
“If you cannot find a good binder, you can always buy a smaller size sports bra. Treat them like real binders though- don’t use them for more than 8 hours at a time, take breaks, do a few stretches and never sleep with it on.” – Vedika, Non Binary
“I like to have binders without elastic (like gc2b), and those that fit just right but also a binder that is a size too large. This way, on the days that I am bloated or feel constricted or want more of a relaxing outfit, I wear a bigger one that still flattens my chest better than a sports bra. This is my experience.” – Rue Oliver, Trans, Non Binary
“My doctor told me this: Binding with the nipples pointing down can seriously damage tissue and skin and negatively affect prospects for a future top surgery. Pressing your breasts towards you is a much safer way of binding.”- Anonymous, Non Binary
“There are not many options in India to choose from but there are some compression vests sold on Amazon which might work for people with smaller breasts. It may not give the same degree of flatness but it worked for me. Something that people should probably know about using binders is that it can cause a lot of sensory processing dysphoria, especially initially- as in people will feel like getting rid of it because it can start with feeling trapping and can cause pain.”- Savi, Non Binary
“A thing to keep in mind while using binders is that you should wash it regularly. There are two styles available- the full tank and half tank. The full will also cover your stomach, making it look a little flatter if that’s what you want to do.” – @samstxgram’
“Do not ever, wear a binder on a plane. Go for looser clothes and an okay fitting sports bra. The air pressure in a plane can constrict your breathing along with the binding, it can be dangerous.” – Anonymous, Queer
“Stitching a binder is not too difficult. All you need broad pieces of elastic, some cloth and a few extra materials like a zip. There are many tutorials one can find online and I found a tailor who would do it for me when I told him it was for a fashion show!Finding how to take measurements for binders are also available on the net.” – Jo, Non Binary
“Don’t wear your binder for more than 8 hours. If it starts hurting before or after that, take a break from the binder. It’s most important to listen to your body. If the binder is rolling up at the bottom, just stitch on some extra fabric to tuck it in/ tuck it in if it is long enough.” – Teena, Non Binary
“Binders can be super tough to wear and remove. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help.Measure over the top of your breasts. Then measure below them. Add those two numbers together and divide by two. Then use that number to determine the circumference of the binder that you buy.” – Anonymous, Queer
Always do your research before you buy your binder to ensure you get what you want!
All Artworks by: Kokila Bhattacharya