A Guide to Binding Safely
3rd August 2021
Binding is a way of temporarily making your chest look flatter and is often done to relieve gender dysphoria.
Who is binding for?
- Anyone who wants to bind is free to do so. It isn’t limited to only dysphoric non binary people / trans men
- You don’t need to bind to be a “valid trans person’ and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do so
- Whether or not someone binds doesn’t say anything about how valid their identity is. Binding is for anyone who wants to
- Cis people who want to make their chest appear smaller or flat can bind. This includes:
- Cis men with gynecomastia
- Cis women doing cosplay
Why do people bind?
- To conceal or minimise their chest for a flatter appearance
- For drag, role-play or cosplay
- To fit into clothes designed for ‘men’ with more ease
- Because it makes them happy
- To present or be perceived as masculine or a man
- To better express and affirm their gender identity
- To support their mental health
What are the general safety rules of binding?
- Don’t sleep with your binder on at night
- Don’t do any vigorous exercising in a binder – nothing that’ll get your heart rate up / make you breathe heavily
- Don’t bind when you’re sick with a cough
- Don’t bind for more than 12 hours maximum at once, 8 hours regularly
- Take breaks
- Break in a binder – don’t go straight to 8 hours of use
- Never use bandages, Sellotape or anything similar
- Never bind too small, use the right size (if between sizes, go up)
- Take it off if you’re experiencing pain
- DO NOT DOUBLE BIND! Don’t wear a binder on top of another, or a binder and compression sports bra
What are the risks of unsafe binding?
There are side effects and risks we’ve heard people self-report after unsafe binding:
- Aggravation of existing conditions (such as asthma)
- Build up of fluid in the lungs
- Heart and lung problems
- Reduced lung capacity
- Vomiting and coughing up blood
- Damaged ribs – bruised, broken, deformed, warped, cracked, etc.
- If you deform / damage your ribcage, you may never be able to get top surgery, or never be able to bind again
How to measure:
You’ll need to use a tape measure to measure all the way around your body in two places, your chest measurement and your rib measurement. Your chest measurement should be taken from the fullest part of your chest, usually where your nipples are. Your rib measurement should be taken directly underneath your chest tissues. Where a bra under band would sit. The tape measure doesn’t need to be pulled really tight, but it does need to be taught and lying flat. For best results, measure with clothes on.
- Underarm measurement:Take this measurement just above where your breast tissue begins. The measuring tape should lay just below your armpits and at the beginning of your breast tissue
- The largest part of your chest: Take this measurement around the torso and chest where the most breast tissue is (usually around the nipples, but this will vary person to person)
- Underbust measurement: Take this measurement directly under your chest tissue, where you would measure your band size for a bra
Where to buy a binder?
- GC2B and Underworks are the most popular and reputable binder companies
- Spectrum Outfitters is a UK-based binder brand that looks similar to GC2B
- Known unsafe binders include: LesLoveBoat (their clasp binders specifically), eBay, binders that are sold on Amazon (except Underworks), Wish, The Discriminant, Ancient Fish Kink
Other safe binder makers are:
More information on Binding:
Here are some links to find more information on Binding: