In an earlier post, I highlighted the “In a Bind” program run by the Portland TransActive Gender Center, an organization headed up by a male-to-female individual named Jenn Burleton. TransActive specifically notes that to be eligible, you must be under age 22, in financial need and/or have an “unsupportive parent.” The free binders are shipped in plain packages. In a 2011 interview, the coordinator of “In a Bind,” Kit Crosland, an adult FTM, had this to say:
“One of our volunteers, Kate Levy, is a mother of a trans child and was thinking about other young trans people and the various struggles they face. She came up with the problem of obtaining binders when you’re young, still in school, and may live with unsupportive parents.”
So Kate Levy felt she had the right to make life-changing decisions for other people’s children, when those parents might have good reasons for putting the brakes on their child obtaining a binder.
I can’t imagine in my wildest dreams deliberately setting up a program to subvert another adult’s parenting decisions. But then, I’m quite certain people like Kate consider a parent’s reluctance to purchase a binder-on-demand to be tantamount to child abuse.
And Kate isn’t the only adult who feels she has the right to meddle in other people’s family lives. Transactive proudly says this on its FAQ pages for In a Bind:
Why does In a Bind focus on youth?
Youth represent the most overlooked members of the trans community.
[Oh, I beg to differ, Burleton, Levy, and Crosland: Youth are the new frontier, the media darlings, with their parent’s book and film deals, the facial product commercials, the breathless profiles in major news outlets like the Washington Post and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Exploited? Yes. Overlooked? Not by a long shot.]
They often don’t have a voice or money of their own. If they don’t have a supportive family and at least moderate financial means, it can be almost impossible for them to obtain a new binder on their own. In a Bind strives to create a feeling of “taking care of our own” within the trans adult community by giving them the opportunity to help these young people.
Of course. Adults who identify as transgender have the perfect right to interject themselves in the lives of kids–kids they know nothing about, apart from the fact that they are identifying as trans. These adults are just taking care of their own–their community. Any child who claims the transgender identity or dysphoria, deserves a binder now, and is automatically inducted into the trans cult–I mean, community–to be mentored by its adult members. Full stop.
Did I miss something? When did the discussion take place in Western societies, wherein we took a vote and agreed that any minor female child who wants a breast binder–a potentially dangerous device meant to start a girl on the road to “transition” to hormones and surgery–should get one, free of charge, no questions asked, with no consultation with or consent from parents or legal guardians? Someone, somewhere decided that a mother or father who has concerns about their gender nonconforming daughter being squeezed in a vice should be cut out of the discussion entirely. How do these adult strangers even know where the child and family are in their process of thinking about gender identity? Has the dysphoria been explored in depth, to make sure a binder is the right step to take?
But it never occurs to these people that some of our children might have got a sudden hankering to “transition” after a brief spate of online gorging on videos posted by other kids. They don’t bother to ask. The “application” process for a binder is as simple as filling out a form.
In this 2012 Autostraddle article, Crosland waxes enthusiastic about the program:
Many applications tell stories of unsupportive parents: one 16-year old writes, “I don’t have any other way to get myself a binder. I don’t have the money and my parents aren’t supportive…”
…As Kit explains, there are two main reasons why binders are so important: they help people feel good about themselves and they “curb the body dysphoria of having these things on your chest that you don’t identify with.” One 17-year-old applicant writes, “Whenever I look in the mirror I become extremely upset, stressed, anxious, confused and even sick or angry because what I think and feel is so incongruent with how I look.”
So it is accepted, unquestioningly, that dis-identifying with part of one’s own body because of how it looks has only one solution: disguise it, or get rid of it, one way or the other. Start by strapping it down until you can barely breathe, then move on to cutting it off. Simple, right? Lip service isn’t given for even a moment to the idea that something less radical might be considered.
The MORF free binder scheme in the UK
In Manchester, England, there is an organization called MORF, whose aim, according to its FAQ, is “to provide free binders to all transmen who request them.” MORF states on its home page that the organization is for people age 18+, but it’s unclear whether there is a screening process for binder distribution. It’s worth noting that TransActive links to MORF in its “In a Bind” FAQ, which would certainly imply the UK scheme serves youth.
“Since February 2011, MORF has been redistributing free binders to trans* masculine people all over the UK and around the world. The free scheme (all you pay is the postage) has so far redistributed hundreds of binders in 2014 alone we sent out over 280 binders, and we want to continue giving out as many as possible.”
Like “In a Bind,” MORF assures discretion for its free binder program:
Do I have to give you my legal name/home address?
You can use whichever name and address is most convenient for you.
Is the packaging discreet?
We do not write anything related to binders/MORF on the envelopes.
These groups claim they are doing a service. But what do you think, parents? Should other adults be secretly providing girl children with free devices that compress adolescent breast tissue, risking breathing problems, a collapsed lung or broken ribs, among other health issues–without your knowledge and consent, and with no idea what inner process may have led to the child’s request for the device?
Underworks is one of the main manufacturers of binders in the US. They also sell other undergarments, but with the uptick in business from the ever-increasing stream of YouTube/Tumblr-generated FTMs, they can now support an entire separate website just for FTMs.
The binders range in price from about $28-$35. In addition to breast binders, they have a whole line of other undergarments, including full “binding suits,” binding swim wear, and briefs.
Underworks has a free donation program; they ship to many organizations around the world. Here is Underworks’ self-congratulatory blurb about its donation program:
“why do they insist on Underworks?
because they know they can count on genuine service, an inviting friendly atmosphere, a great binder, but most of all, they can count on us to support them and the community! today, thousands wear a binder donated by Underworks–their first binder...”
we’re about a full life reshaping experience.
Ah, yes. Their first binder! A rite of passage…with many more to come.
The “About” page continues with a series of accolades, most from organizations who acquire these binders for minors–including TransActive and MORF:
“MORF received our binder order yesterday. Thanks for such a speedy service, and thank you very, very much for generously donating to our scheme! We were running low on stock, and have a long waiting list, so you’ve really helped us and our community out. You’re very kind :).
We’ll be sending the binders out to people on our waiting list very soon!
Thank you so much again,”
“We received your generous donation here at TransActive. Thank you so much. We already turned all of the binders around, sent back out to youth on our waiting list who have no way of purchasing one on their own.
Thanks again, what a fantastic gift!”
In a Bind” Project Coordinator”
I want to thank you again for Underworks gracious donation of binders to our Trans Youth Program. Thank you for reaching out to us! Everything at BAGLY is going wonderful; we’re happy to announce that we are expanding our programming to offer a 5 day a week drop-in center for GLBTQ and Allied Youth. I’m also excited to say that we have given out 17 of the binders that Underworks donated to us, including every one of the XSmall, Small, and Medium binders. Our youth are so thankful to Underworks for all of your support!
Please let us know if there is anything else BAGLY can do now or in the future. Underworks has done so much for us and this is the least we can do for you.”
Massachusetts Youth Pride Coordinator
There is another binder manufacturer that appears to be doing well. (For a once vanishingly small group of people, female-to-male transitioners seem to be generating a fair bit of startup business).
Gc2b started out with products for men with gynecomastia, but, like Underworks, the FTM business has expanded enough for a whole new line of business.
Trans* and FtM Customers! We have heard you and designed a dedicated product just for you! Check out our new line of chest binders!
Finally, what post about shopping would be complete without a nod to Amazon? A search for “chest binders” returns 216 hits.
Part 3 of this series will continue with more information about binder “schemes,” as well as a look at some cautionary experiences with breast binders.
Reblogged this on Stop Trans Chauvinism.
//Portland TransActive Gender Center, an organization headed up by a female-to-male transsexual named Jenn Burleton.// Burleton isnt female,hes a man who identifies as a woman.
Yep, that was a typo. Thanks. Fixed. I’m tired!
My kid (age 16, nearly 17) has a couple binders I helped her buy from Amazon about a year ago. She is tiny and flat-chested naturally so the degree of compression required to get the effect she’s looking for (yeah, she is still a she, by her own choice) is not as extreme as with some women. She takes the thing off as soon as she gets home from school and does not wear one evenings/nights/weekends; in fact she doesn’t wear it at home at all. I periodically press her to use sports bras instead, and have begun to gently raise the health risks and quiz her about any adverse symptoms, but so far she is adamant. If I’d known then what I know now, I’d not have bought these for her, but I didn’t realize.
Frankly, though, the binding and the permission to wear a very short haircut and guy clothing have, I think, played a big role in alleviating the dysphoria enough so she is not currently pressing for more extreme and irreversible measures. What happens down the line, I don’t know, but in a year she won’t be a medical minor any more and my ability to influence her health decisions will be limited. (Many college health programs will now cover a lot of transition services, without parental notification/consent.)
I can only hope/pray that she will continue to listen at least a little bit to what I am saying about health risks, and will hold off and stay busy with other things, until her frontal lobes develop enough so she can really make a decent risk/benefit analysis regarding this very adult choice. I deeply feel that the psych and medical communities have walked away from their ethical responsibilities here, based on a combination of sociopolitical pushing and bad science. (And that’s crediting them with benign intentions, which leaves the whole moneymaking question aside, though I don’t think that it’s a peripheral issue, either.)
I love this kid so much, have supported her through many difficulties and psych problems that far predated her idea that she is trans. In the end, once she is a legal adult, all I can do is express my deep misgivings and concern for her health (as both her mom and a fellow female), encourage her to seriously consider societal pressures that make her think extreme body modifications are necessaryh, present examples of strong women who refused to fit anybody’s mold for “girl,” and promise to continue to love her, come what may.
Dear puzzled, there is so much to like in your comment. While part of the message of my posts on breast binding is the possible associated health risks, what I’m really focusing on is the audacity of these organizations and activists who are trying to drive a wedge between young, gender nonconforming girls and caring and thoughtful parents like you and me. You thought about it, and bought the binders for your daughter. As her parent, this was a decision you made with a full understanding of your own daughter–from raising and loving her all these years. These strangers who send binders in unmarked packages have no such knowledge, and they should be called out publicly–and frankly, feel ashamed–for assuming all girls with dysphoria should be treated the same. It takes a lot of hubris to usurp the role of parenting these kids, and it needs to stop.
I am planning a post on dysphoria, because I know it is very real. It’s something I’ve learned more about since starting my Tumblr blog, because I’ve heard from a ton of young people, as well as women, who have lived that experience and come out the other side without transitioning. It’s interesting that binding and the other things you mentioned have reduced her dysphoria and may actually help her realize she doesn’t need to move on to drugs and surgeries. I have heard the exact opposite message too–frankly, far more often–that binding increased dysphoria. Because of how uncomfortable it is, it seems logical to some of these young people to just move on to “top surgery,” which will get rid of those “things,” “blobs,” “useless bags” once and for all, and dispense with the hassle of binding. But everyone is different, and in your daughter’s case, maybe this is all she’ll need.
But the key thing is: you and your daughter are in this together. You, the parent, made the decision to purchase the binders. Not some know-it-all member of the adult trans “community” who thinks they know better than you.
Thank you so very much for sharing your perspective on this.
And P.S.: That you love your kid so much cannot be overemphasized. I can’t tell you how much hate mail I’ve received, accusing me of “hating” my “son” (see: in your case, your DAUGHTER still wants to be called “she”!). It would be laughable if it weren’t so common in the trans community, to assume any parent who wants to exercise caution is “hateful” or “abusive.”
And absolutely: Once she reaches the age of medical majority, you can only be an advisor. Hopefully a trusted one, but she’ll be on her own then. When my child asked me for “T” and top surgery, I made it clear that would be something she’d have to work a job to pay for later, if that’s what she eventually decides she wants. That’s not “child abuse.” That’s putting major medical treatment in the realm of adult responsibility–where it belongs.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m sorry you’re going through this. I echo everything said about your devotion to your daughter’s well-being and that no one else has the right to usurp your rights and responsibilities as a parent. I hope that your daughter will spend some time reviewing the blogs of women who decided not to transition or have detransitioned. You’re right that the medical and mental health providers have abdicated all responsibility in this. There’s virtually no push-back or reality testing. Small wonder that transitioning has such a poor track record for relieving dysphoria. I truly wish the best for you and your daughter.
“What happens down the line, I don’t know, but in a year she won’t be a medical minor any more and my ability to influence her health decisions will be limited. (Many college health programs will now cover a lot of transition services, without parental notification/consent.)”
Nonsense!!! You do NOT have to send her off to college, to live in some dormitory somewhere, and THAT is where such parents are severely mistaken! I am 32 years old, and because I have never spend 24 hours away from a parent or grandparent in my life, I have NEVER worn a binder, nor even entertained the thought of it, despite having been relatively “short-haired” since I was 10. If I bought such a thing, my 60-year-old mom would DESTROY it, since she checks the mail almost everyday and does my laundry 90% of the time, and I don’t think my 62-year-old dad would approve of it if I went to live with him. So yes, there IS a way to control “adult” children who are still financially dependent on you, and yes, there IS a way to make sure your daughter is NEVER in a setting where that would be tolerated!
LikeLiked by 1 person
That’s creepy as heck. Being controlled by your parents as an adult?
Oh, I see, “B,” people should be “open-minded” and “tolerant” only insofar as that conforms to your view of the way things should be? Veronica still lives with her mother and has a different relationship with her, than you apparently do with yours. That’s “creepy”? For the vast majority of history, in fact young people did live with their families, until they married and started families of their own, and in many parts of the world this is the norm through today. My own parents did so – my mother has never lived alone, or without family, in her 85 years of life, and other than his years in the military, my now 90 year old father did the same. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just a different way of approaching life and growing up and maturity. And who’s to say it doesn’t lead to better outcomes?
Interesting how folks who claim to be so broad-minded are rarely so in practice.
Okie dokie…worriedmom, I think you are misunderstanding my comment a bit. If a legal adult is voluntarily in a setup in which they are financially dependent on a parent, it seems reasonable that they may agree to follow that parent’s rules in exchange. But if we look at Veronica’s comment, perhaps you wil further understand my perspective. Not only is she reducing the medical condition of gender dysphoria – feeling one’s biological sex is at odds with one’s sense of gender identity – to a haircut, in the attempt to make her own experience relevant, but she is using the word ‘control’, and seemingly encouraging parents to ‘make sure your daughter is NEVER in a setting where that would be tolerated’. What does that means? PREVENTING an adult from attending college to maintain your status as their owner/controller? To me, the idea that an adult should be denied bodily autonomy is a proposition of an attack on freedom and a disturbing viewpoint.
Would you LIKE these college health programmes you speak of to require consent from the parents of legal adults before they can provide ‘transition services’? With all due respect, to me that just seems wrong.
With all due respect … what to me seems wrong is the assumption that an 18 year old in the U.S. can get a prescription for T after a half hour appointment at an ‘informed consent’ clinic, provided a simple blood test checks out. Zero mental health assessment or therapy is required in these ‘enlightened’ days. What I WANT is for clinics to start practicing medicine that is evidence-based instead of sociopolitically driven. I wouldn’t be worried about signing off if these organizations were doing their JOBS instead of rubber-stamping teen self-diagnoses and dismissing existing mental health issues as irrelevant. You know?
If you read this site closely, B, you’ll find that a LOT of us parents have kids with professionally diagnosed pre-existing mental health conditions: autism spectrum/aspergers, ADD, OCD, depression, anxiety, bipolar, you name it. The ‘trans’ thing is not our first psych/pharm rodeo, you know? So pardon us if we don’t immediately assume that when the clock passes midnight on the day the kids turn 18, all these pre-existing conditions are irrelevant, and only their self-diagnosis of trans (often sudden) applies. Pardon us if we don’t believe transition is going to make all that other stuff go away.
I’d feel somewhat different if my kid really WERE an adult, B. But to me, a kid who is 100% dependent on my wallet and also heavily dependent on me for academic support and emotional support and advice in every aspect of the kid’s life is not, in fact, functioning as an adult. There are some 18 year olds out there who ARE, but … these days, not so many, at least not in my socioeconomic cohort. When the happy day arrives that my kid is functioning like an independent and more mature person, I think your argument will have some weight. But a lot of us are not there yet.
The fact that proven science indicates that frontal lobe development, required for long-term thinking and mature decision making, is incomplete until the mid 20s is a big red flag. “Legal adult” and “mature thinker” are two different concepts. The parents who write here know our kids, and we know our kids’ history. And we’re the ones who are gonna get the call if the whole business blows up on them, mental health wise and/or physiologically. Not WPATH, not the informed consent clinics, not internet commenters. The parents, who’ve been here all along. Adults get to make their own choices, even bad ones. But pardon us if there’s a fair amount of dispute regarding the concept of “adulthood,” and well-founded skepticism about how far our kids have achieved it as yet.
LikeLiked by 3 people
“And we’re the ones who are gonna get the call if the whole business blows up on them, mental health wise and/or physiologically. Not WPATH, not the informed consent clinics, not internet commenters. The parents, who’ve been here all along.”
LikeLiked by 3 people
Ok Puzzled, it sounds like the issue for you is that not enough counselling is required before someone medically transitions. Is the ‘solution’ a fully grown adult being still dependent on parental consent for anything they wish to do with their body, even if they are living away from home?
B, I was clear in my comment. My kid has mental health issues way predating her putative trans identity and she is completely financially dependent on me and her dad. She did not become an ‘independent adult’ the day she turned 18, and her permanent address is still ours. Going to college is not ‘moving out.’
I’ve told her, and I’ll tell you, that … when she finishes college and gets a self supporting job and is functioning in the world more like an adult, of course she will do what she will. I’m not talking about restricting transition access to actual adults — though I think the notion that any kind of counseling requirement is unacceptable “gatekeeping” is not an evidence-based improvement in treatment.
As long as this kid is 100% on my dime, benefiting daily from my hard labor, then, yeah, I think her dad and I have the right to elect not to pay for courses of action that we think are ill-advised. I know my kid, and she’s not a talking point. Real person, real history, real mental health challenges predating any idea of transness. For the med/psych/pharm community to pretend that pre-existing mental health issues are negligible in any patient presenting for gender services is ludicrous. IMO.
LikeLiked by 3 people
What sort of agency would oversee a product like this? Not the Food and Drug Administration, but what? A product used as intended that produced these sorts of side effects should be regulated by some agency.
Hey 4thwave, btw,I’ve spent a lot of time reading your tumbler archive. Wow. I so appreciate the work you were doing over there. You’re a brave person to stand up to all the flak that you get. I know there are young people who are listening, beyond the tropes that are insistently employed. Telling young people that they are not really in their right minds, especially when it comes to long term perspective, is not that pleasant a job. But it is incontrovertibly true. And proved by real science, not bad science. Thank you for being a sane, affirming parental voice and taking the anger they wish to direct at their own parents, in some cases. It’s important work.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes, I sometimes think of my Tumblr blog as descending into the bowels of hell. I don’t even publish the truly hateful comments I get, as a matter of policy. If someone is trying to engage me on a reasonably respectful level, I do respond.
A lot of those young people who use me as a punching bag are obviously very angry with their own parents. Who that age doesn’t have a beef with mom or dad? And I’m sure some of them do have awful parents. But I have a strong hunch, reading between the lines, that most are like you and me: parents who love their kids and are just trying to do the best by them.
I’ve actually been very heartened by the number of young, gender critical people who are active on Tumblr. It makes me think there is hope to turn this around. We will need all hands on deck for that.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Oh, I can imagine. Death threats and God knows what else — or at least, that is the kind of response I’ve seen elsewhere to anyone who dares question the tropes, no matter how respectfully. I’m sure we’re only seeing the tip of “die, TERF” iceberg and the “you’re going to kill your kid” iceberg.
There’s a lot of desire to make it all about “transphobic parents vs oppressed trans kids” — and because so many of these kids are living in an Internet echo chamber of advice from their peers (and, I know, older trans groomers), it’s very hard to break through their assumption that this is the real dynamic. They don’t have kids of their own, obviously, and their feelings are SO strong and are continually reinforced and stoked. And they have not lived long enough to discover that strong feelings can, in fact, change. Nor have most of them lived long enough to understand what chronic and acute health issues are really like. (I appreciate the work of some of the folks on Tumblr who suggest that kids also consider people’s responses to other forms of oppression, notably racism, and how killing yourself is not widely advised in these cases, even when the oppression is painful and brutal.)
At any rate — I’m always cheering when you refuse to deliver the response they’re looking for, particularly when they are trying to get you to say that you’re against trans ppl and transition across the board. When you come across with “hey, I think it’s a misguided and dangerous response to social pressures, and I think it’s sad, but when you’re an adult … it’s a free country, it’s certainly not illegal, good luck” — I can tell that this is disarming, to some degree. As it should be.
When a simple “please stop and consider the ramifications” is interpreted as an oppressive hater stance … when the mere discussion of the pertinent issues is interpreted as dangerously “triggering” … then something’s deeply wrong. That’s for sure.
Pingback: Dr. Margaret Moon, a rare voice of reason in the trans cacophony | 4thWaveNow
Pingback: A new TERF is born! :D (Also known as “a sensible person”) | Bureaucromancy
Very interesting “custom.” Parallels?
GenderTrender has a powerful post up today about a mother who has successfully sued a sex shop in Canada. The shop sold a binder to her teenager. I hope Kit Crosland and Jenn Burleton are listening. Undermining parents and endangering the health of young girls is a pretty iffy “charity” to be running.
I would just like to say that as a young person, knowing trans* people that use binders, and looking for a binder from one of these programs that it is a great idea to have this opportunity because if your parents are not supportive of who you are and you have dysphoria, you can be who you are comfortable with. Yes, there are companies that make unsafe binders but the ones you posted offer reused binders and they clearly worked for the people that used them first. Also, transness is not a cult. Could there be a cult made up entirely of transgender people? Yes, but being transgender has nothing to do with cults. You also mention this in your post: “Should other adults be secretly providing girl children with free devices that compress adolescent breast tissue, risking breathing problems, a collapsed lung or broken ribs, among other health issues-” and I would like to point out that the adolescents using these provided chest binders/breast binders/compression shirts would not get hurt like this if they knew how to use them safely. It is incredibly hard to learn how to do that without supportive parents. These programs are incredibly helpful to transgender and/or genderqueer teens that feel more comfortable in them. There are articles that give the percentage of trans* teens that attempt or commit suicide because of body dysphoria. And you are here saying that these programs are bad and should be stopped because there is no parental consent involved. But if there was, that percentage may go up, or at the very least there will be many more dysphoric, unhappy teens. I think I understand your concern, because random strangers are giving your child (not you personally just people in general) a device that can cause serious harm. But if the dysphoric teens that don’t have access to binders etc. feel like they an find a way to bind with household materials, they will most likely turn to Ace bandages or duct tape. These are the cause of the injuries that you listed with binders, although there are always going to be some crappily designed binders out there. To sum up my incredibly long rant about these wonderful programs, I try to understand your concern with the strangers and all but they are great programs for dysphoric teens with unsupportive parents.
So you clearly have taken quite a bit of time to write this response, and I appreciate your sincerity and obvious attempt to engage in respectful dialogue. I’m publishing your comment, but don’t want to get into a protracted dialogue beyond this, because the purpose of my site is to shed light on the alternative to the standard trans narrative so many young people (like you) have imbibed unquestioningly. What I’m going to suggest you do is consider some questions I’m going to pose to you, but no need to respond further.
First, I understand that not all young women who bind their breasts will be seriously injured. There is a safER way to bind (not totally “safe”) and I recognize that these free binder organizations do try to instruct people in how to do that. But the deeper question is: Why do so many young girls feel the need to do this to themselves? The easy answer is, “because they’re really GUYS.” But ask yourself: Is there any basis to the notion that a girl is actually a guy? Look beyond the narrative that is all over “queer” Tumblr, Reddit, YouTube. Have you ever really stopped to consider why these young women have come to detest their own bodies so much? What is the source of the “dysphoria”? I know it is a real experience, but stop and think about what cultural and media forces are influencing so many of you young people to reject your own bodies. Dysphoria is a real experience, but that doesn’t mean the answer is as simple as drugging, binding, and cutting the body. In fact, the research we have shows that self harming and suicidal intent do NOT go away, long term, just because someone is on the road to transition. Please research the recent suicides of teens in San Diego, who were supported in transition by family and friends. Blake Brockington, the first trans homecoming king, was a celebrated leader of the trans community. Something else is going on with these kids but nobody wants to talk about that.
Why is there a need to define yourself as “genderqueer” instead of a female who doesn’t fit some stereotyped idea of what “female” means? Where do you get the notion that there is something wrong with your body? As to these organizations that are supplying binders to kids without parental consent, spend a few minutes pondering why some parents might be “unsupportive.” Have you read other posts and comments on this blog? To a young mind, it just seems like your parents are thwarting you for the hell of it. Hey, I’ve been there–we were all teenagers once. But parents like me are concerned about this recent (and it is recent) onslaught of young women who revile their own bodies so much that they literally want to cut some parts off. And ask yourself this: Why do you trust the adults who run these organizations more than your own parents? Do you really feel those people don’t have their own biases, their own agenda, that might actually not be in your best interests?
And as to whether the transgender trend is a “cult,” I’d invite you to look into the definition of cults and then decide for yourself. One of the defining characteristics is that people are forbidden to question the cult’s narrative (which is why this site is the only place I’ve been able to find on the Internet where parents like me aren’t shouted down by hateful activists). I’m asking you to do that—question. Question why it is that you can’t just grow up in a healthy female body, discover who you are, dress and pursue interests as you like. Ask yourself why you feel a need to claim such labels as “genderqueer” and “pansexual” instead of simply BEING and becoming.
Pingback: Trans Youth Equality Foundation: Free binders, bathroom advocacy, podcasts, and more for the transgender child “movement” | 4thWaveNow
hi, i am an actual trans person. and im a minor (for about 4 more months.) and the whole time i was reading this i was disgusted. not only are the descriptions of the effects of binding complete hyperbole, but the continuous misgendering of trans people makes me sick.
binders are NOT supposed to constrict until you cant breath, nor do they feel anything like a vice. i own three different brands, and underworks binder, a gc2b binder, and a swimming binder(probably underworks but im not sure. it was a gift) and with all of them my experience has been more akin to a gentle pressure. kind of like a snug tank top. the ONLY time when theyre dangerous to wear is when theyre too small, or you wear them literally 24/7. on every site ive been on that sells binders it details the dangers and tells you what precautions you should take, like not wearing it for more than 8-9 hours and making absolutely sure you have the right size.
and onto dysphoria. binders can legitimately be a life saving garment for trans people. personally it just makes me feel better and not so disgusted with myself, but i know people who literally cant look at themselves in the mirror or shower with the lights on because they feel so sick about having these body parts that they dont want. this whole article and everyone commenting on it is severely misinformed and i really hope you get better education on trans matters, dysphoria, and binding safety.
davd, indeed there are safer ways to wear a binder and I’m glad you know about them. What strikes me in your comment is not your attempt to educate us about safer binding (which I and my regular readers are well aware of); it’s your intense hatred of yourself (part of which is your body)–a hatred which is nurtured and inflamed by organizations like TransActive. Being “disgusted” at your own healthy, natural body parts may seem to you somehow normal because you feel you are “really” a man. But the whole purpose of this blog is to shine a light on the adults–the activists, the “gender specialists,” and the media–who are leading teenage girls to believe that cutting and drugging themselves for the rest of their lives is the only answer to their self hatred. It’s cruel and unfair. And, since you mentioned misgendering, these same adults are encouraging people to think that recognizing biological reality–that simply saying that women are women and men are men–is a thought crime that should be condemned and made illegal.
The parents and other adults who contribute here don’t hate you or feel disgusted with you. We are disgusted with the gender-pushing adults who are the real reason you feel your only choice in life is to destroy your own body and deny your femaleness.
d, I’m sorry you are so disgusted with yourself. I’m particularly sorry that you seem to hate your (I assume) healthy biological body so much. I hope you know that almost every human being feels bad about something about themselves. And also that most of us had no idea of the changes and the life in store for us.
You are very young, almost 18. There is so much ahead of you that you cannot even anticipate. And, most importantly, your brain is not completely developed. Young people feel things SO intensely and deeply because their prefrontal cortex are switched off and under construction and their amygdala, the seat of emotion, is working overtime. I suspect you feel you are running out of time and that everyone is against you. I think a lot of us remember feeling the same way when we were younger. It is an intense and fraught time.
The best of luck to you. I hope you find your way with people who love you and have your best interests at heart. I hope you can realize that we parents love our children and only want to help them and we feel that our fully-developed brains and life experiences might be useful and that a wiser perspective is sometimes called for. Because, you see, we were all once teenagers…
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hey Davd. I just wanted to reach out to you because I had a gc2b binder myself for a while. I found the company really nice and helpful, really well-meaning, wanting to make sure I got the right fit. And it did fit without making it hard to breathe (once I wrestled it on) but there was that “gentle pressure” which actually made my back hurt some for some weird reason. Every time I wore it out I’d be recognized as male, which I thought was pretty keen at the time. But I always knew it was on and always looked forward to taking it off.
I know it seems incomprehensible at this point in time, but let me just tell you this from experience: it is *so* much more comfortable, and easier every day, and light and free and happy, to finally accept your body for what it is and just wear a lightweight sports bra (or no bra at all if you can swing it!) that’s designed to properly cradle your breasts. Yes, you will still have to deal with the psychological and emotional pain of being read as female in a certain way, and I know, very well, how difficult that can be. But that’s why we’re trying to create a network of support, so we can have the comfort and freedom and happiness of being our natural selves, in our natural bodies. It isn’t easy, but support is out there for women – by women – just like you. You don’t have to hate your body and wrestle into that binder to find peace. There is another way.
Hi Davd. I think we’re actually pretty well educated here. Lord knows I’ve read and viewed enough research studies, news reports, blogs, vlogs (transitioners, detransitioners, the gamut) to have logged the hours for a college minor in the subject. (And just for the record, my kid’s still female-identified, despite her binding and her short hair and her boy clothes. At home, at school, everywhere. No name change, no new pronounts, no social transition. That is HER choice. The notion that her ‘nonconforming’ presentation means she’s defacto misgendered trans? To me that’s not freedom; that’s just another box being pushed. She’s still girl by her own choice. For the record. I’m not ‘misgendering’ this kid.)
Your pain regarding your body is palpable, and I’m so, so sorry you are struggling with this. As a mother and a fellow natal female, it makes me so sad for you. I wanted to mention the availability of a private group for natal females in various stages of struggle/reconciliation with their bodies. There are “detransitioners” here but also just women who are looking for support with multiple levels of disassociation with bodies. You will find people who can completely understand the emotions you are expressing. See http://twentythreetimes.tumblr.com/ for info.
You challenged us to ‘educate ourselves’ so I guess that is my counter-challenge, that you’d go chat with the good people over there, and see what their stories are like and what they might have to offer to help with your journey.
wishing you peace.
I also wish you well, Davd. And I hope that one day you will be more at ease with your body.
How young can you be to start wearing a binder and if you are under 18 can it hurt your growth.
Hi Jami, I’m not quite sure why you’re asking this (here) but my understanding is that many girls begin to bind their breasts when they first become visible due to puberty. That would depend on how old the girl is when she first has breast development. For a lot of girls I would think this happens between the ages of 11 and 14. I don’t think that “binders” (special undergarments, like Spanx for your breasts) are sold to people under 18 but they seem to get them in other ways.
I don’t know if there have been any studies done on specifically whether binders stunt breast development. There are a number of horrible pictures circulating on the internet of what happens to breasts that are bound for a long time. I would think that, just like with Chinese foot-binding, if a girl started to bind as soon as her breasts began to develop, they probably would not grow normally.
Certainly as the blog post indicates, breast binding is a very unhealthy thing to do in general.
Puzzled, your response on April 17, 2017 regarding binders and the mental health of your child sounds exactly like where I am with my daughter.
Hello! I am really young, so perhaps take what I say with a grain of salt but, if it this might be helpful, then continue. Alright so, I am non binary, I look quite masculine and I’m generally happy, other than my chest. For a short while I considered binding it but, (because of the health risks) I decided not to. My mother actually has a lot of your points, and I agree with her (and you) on a lot of levels. I believe you should wait until your older and I believe you should consult someone before you do it. However, as a parent, there is something you can do (other than just telling your child “No”) to help your child not want to bind. Now, I’m not going to speak for the entire community because I don’t know what everyone goes through, everyone is different. But I can speak for myself when I say that when my mom uses the right pronouns, I feel happy, and I feel the need to bind slowly fade away every time someone says “They” instead of “She”. The only time i truly feel comfortable and whole as a person is when “They/Them” pronouns are used for me. Maybe this is just a phase, maybe in a few years I won’t care, maybe I’ll forget about it, but right now, it matters. I don’t think that you’re a bad parent (quite the contrary) but I do believe that to curb your child’s need to be seen differently, see them differently.
I appreciate that you’re not screaming at us here, that’s something.
However, what you’re describing sounds a little… manipulative. If someone else (your mom, in this case) does what you want her to do, your desire to hurt yourself diminishes. In fact, you only feel comfortable and whole when the people around you use the words you want them to use. You don’t seem very concerned about whether these people feel comfortable and whole using these words, only that they do as you wish (whether they believe it or feel good about it or not).
It seems to me that looking outwards for other people to validate you, and your thoughts about yourself, is ultimately going to be a losing game. The vast majority of people are going to correctly perceive your birth sex, and the vast majority of people are also not going to buy the idea that you are “both or neither” or whatever it is that being non-binary implies. This is just the way it’s going to be.
Most of the adult transgender people I’ve met have had to learn to be tough as nails. (I’m not talking about the psychos now, but about the transgender people who are just trying to live their lives.) Wherever they go, whatever they do, the people around them will stubbornly refuse to see reality in the way they would like them to. Their identity cannot depend on what other people do, or see, or think, or say.
In fact these are pretty good observations for growing up in general. Try and detach as much as possible from what other people think about you. You will be significantly happier in the long-run.
Thank you for replying! I never really thought about it like that, I mean, I usually seek validation either way (wether it be with my identity or otherwise) but I guess it’s just a bad habit. I’ll try to work on that, however, I would like to point out that using correct pronouns (while it may not make your child’s life better, if they truly are cis) will also not hurt your child. I think it might help for example my mother is very open and accepting of most things (me being gay, etc… etc…) when she does say no, I am more inclined to believe that there is a damned good reason (even if it still does take me awhile to realize it, because I’m stubborn). As for people not being comfortable using my pronouns, well, at first I wasn’t. At first I didn’t like using “They” for one person, it bothered me, but after awhile of using these pronouns, I got used to it and I was okay with it. If people don’t want to use my pronouns that’s fine, they can just tell me and I’ll try my best to be okay with it. In conclusion, thank you for answering and I’ll try my best to avoid seeking validation, but I do think you should consider maybe using your child’s correct pronouns, if you really really really don’t feel comfortable, then don’t, but before deciding that, answer this, who does it hurt?
Also, I think I may have missed something, but who are these “phsycos” you’re referring to?
The concern about using pronouns, passing for the moment the impact on people who don’t believe they correspond to reality, is that for young people, they tend to reinforce the claimed gender identity. Dressing as the other sex, adopting the name of the other sex, attempting to adopt what one perceives as the interests and characteristics of the other sex, being treated by others as a member of the opposite sex… all tend to reinforce the notion that a person is on his/her way to “becoming” the opposite sex. In fact, all of this reinforcement can “lock in” a person to a particular identity, one that’s very hard to “walk back” should that person change his/her mind in the future.
Most parents, regardless of where they stand on the political or social spectrum, want to preserve life options for their children. If you flunk out of high school: it will be very difficult to go to college should you wish to do so in the future. If you do very poorly in high school and cannot get into the school of your choice: you will be sad, when all your friends go off to college, and you have to stay home and go to the local community college. If you have a child when you are underage: this will limit your future life path. If you make irrevocable choices, some of these can have permanent consequences. Does this mean that young people – and people of all ages – cannot undo their poor decisions? No, of course not: but the harder you make things for yourself, the more difficult these things are to un-do later on, and the less likely it becomes, actually, that you’ll be able to un-do them.
Over the course of time, people tend to learn these things. They see how their own decisions, and the decisions made by the people around them, have played out. That is why parents who care deeply for their children, try to counsel them away from making what they believe will prove to be poor decisions. This is also why, up until very recently, older people were honored and revered as having acquired a certain wisdom that came from living longer, not dismissed and reviled.
I believe that for the vast majority of young people today, “playing with gender” will turn out to be a fad. In most cases it will be a harmless fad. It’s the people who “take it to the next level” by undergoing permanent medical procedures who will, I think, pay the price for the rest of the gender exploration.
In terms of my “psychos” comment – it was made somewhat in jest, but also as the result of experiencing “gender fanatics” – people who appear to be unhinged and who make inflammatory and threatening comments about parents, like myself, who are simply arguing for caution and good sense.
I see where you’re coming from, and I think you’re right (to a certain degree). I believe, before your child decides to use different pronouns, they should think about it for a long time (god, I know I did) and as a child you should never take unreversable mesures. However, I would like to point out, that if someone ends up not wanting to use different pronouns they’ll know. No matter what others see them as, they’ll know if it’s not a good fit. Will some people make fun of them or generally make life difficult for them? Maybe, but that’s the other people’s problem, not theirs. On a completely random note, I was just thinking about how people may not be comfortable using “They/Them” and it’s like saying “I’m not okay using She/Her pronouns”. Non binary people exist, this is a proven fact (wether it be biologically or otherwise) and they have a pronoun that is associated with them, just like men exist and they have a pronoun associated with them. “They/Them” pronouns habe existed for years and years and, though it takes some getting used to, it is grammatically correct. So, it is (in my own opinion) a little bit weird to be opposed to “They/Them” pronouns.
This is where we must disagree. In fact, “non-binary people” do not exist as a biological entity. There has never been an actual hermaphrodite (a person who has functioning male and female sex organs). There are people who have rare “intersex” conditions but these are birth defects, which we know because intersex conditions cause the person to be unable to reproduce. I am assuming that you are not intersex but even if you were, this would not make you “non-binary.”
What does exist is people who are not comfortable with what they perceive as their gender role, and who would like to exist as some combination of gender roles. This is understandable. At the moment, some of these people claim that they are “non-binary” to indicate their rejection of, or discomfort with, society’s gender roles. This does not mean that a “non-binary” identity is something that exists as a matter of objective, physical reality.
Well, I would argue that being intersex, while it is a defect, is also a gender. Because there not male are they? And there not female either, right? Although it is quite common for intersex people to identify with a binary gender, they’re bodies are non binary, I’ve even seen a video we’re an intersex person said they had a non binary body. Sure, they are (more often than not) infertile but, so what? Yeah being intersex means you probably can’t have biological children but there are plenty of women who are infertile, and plenty of men, but they’re still women and men. If this does not convince you (and I don’t blame you if it doesn’t) then here are three pages about this: http://thefeministagenda.blogspot.com/2009/09/what-make-birth-defect-defect.html https://www.quora.com/Is-intersex-considered-a-birth-defect-or-deformity https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/02/male-and-female-what-is-it-like-to-be-intersex