As you may be aware, I received my first ever chest binder on the 22nd of March 2019. So I wanted to write about my feelings now that I’m finally binding, as I do have mixed feelings about binding my chest – but I must emphasis that yes, I am very happy that I’m binding now, and it has definitely alleviated a lot of chest dysphoria that I had before. I’m sure that this is perfectly normal for anyone who chooses to bind their chest – and as long as you are not hurting your body, you should be fine.
But first I want to start with the positive sides of binding my chest. Besides getting rid of a lot of dysphoria, it has given me a brief look at what a flat chest looks like – which is useful because top surgery is something I may want in the future.
In addition, in terms of my mental health, I would say that it is mostly positive when I have binded before. Like I mentioned earlier, it has alleviated a lot of my previous chest dysphoria. It’s also positively affected my mental health because I get this sense of gender euphoria, and it has positively affected my body confidence/image. It has also made me like my chest a bit more, which is always good.
However, this doesn’t mean that I still have a bit of subconscious dysphoria that I wasn’t aware would come due to binding. So for example, binding has made me more aware that I have a chest, which makes me dysphoric because top surgery is something that I am considering as part of my overall transition – so this emphasis on my chest and its lack of flatness is something I don’t enjoy.
Additionally, I feel as though my dysphoria has shifted a bit – whilst before I would rant about my chest dysphoria to friends (trust me, anyone who knows me knows that would not shut up about my chest dysphoria). But now I feel as though my dysphoria has shifted my focus onto other parts of my body – specifically my hips and butt. Again, this may be normal for those of us who choose to bind our chests.
Moreover, in terms of how it has affected me mentally, again, binding my chest has its negative side effects. It re-emphasizes that yes, I still have a chest, and this makes me dysphoric because I don’t like my chest. I also feel anxious when wearing it because since I may want top surgery in the future, I constantly worry that I’m doing something wrong and that my body will be too messed up for top surgery.
Besides, it also feels wrong when I don’t wear my binder – I do understand that I do need to take breaks from binding, but it feels wrong when I do have it on – but I feel weird and euphoric when I do have it on. I’m not sure if this is normal, but it could be.
Anyway, below are some more pictures of me in my binder – though I am glad that I did choose a binder from a good company (my cousin Emily from the states recommended them – though she got those from people she knows who bind their chests). I also worry sometimes about the size of my binder – I’ve got a medium-sized binder, but it still leaves marks on the skin ( don’t worry, it’s nothing serious, just faint marks ) – but I don’t want to return it because a). binders are expensive and b). I’d feel bad because Emily and I went through so much trouble to get one (plus I don’t want to pay the custom fee again).
Though what I may have to do is have a negative binding to not binding ratio – what I mean by this is that I may have to have less binding days than non-binding days.