For other people the word Binder may mean an item of stationery, a cohesive agent or maybe something else, but for us trans men it specifically means a chest binder, which is more like an armour helping us win the battles of everyday life.
It helps us in making our chest appear flat, reducing chest dysphoria and passing as male. In India, however, it is not easy to get a binder. There are not any well known companies that make binders specifically for trans men in India, while buying binders from foreign brands includes hidden import duty taxes.
So here’s a guide on how you can get yourself a binder. If you don’t have any financial restrictions, then you may choose from one of the following foreign brands.
GC2B is a trans owned and operated company based in Maryland, USA, which provides safe binding options for people with chest dysphoria. Currently, their binders are considered the best in terms of quality and price range as well, and so are highly recommended. Their binders are available in various colours- white, grey, black, red, blue, olive green, and 5 nude colour options.
Their half binders cost $33 USD and full tank binders cost $35 USD + shipping rates ($11.25 USD first class 2-4 weeks) & ($24 USD priority mail 6-16 days), which comes out to be approx. INR 3,000-4,000 depending on the option you choose.
Underworks is a company based in USA that sells a lot a compression products, however their compression shirts are aimed towards cis men with gynecomastia and not specifically trans men. Their binders are available in white, beige and black colour.
The cost again comes out to be around INR 4,000.
3. Flavnt Streetwear
Flavnt Streetwear is a trans owned company. They offer four nude coloured binders, with athletic design, each of which is priced at $50 USD. 15% of your purchase goes towards raising a fund for the top surgery of a trans man.
International shipping cost $15 USD extra so the price of one binder comes at Rs. INR 4,250.
4) Spectrum Outfitters
Spectrum is a new company based in UK. It also makes chest binders specifically for Transgender people with chest dysphoria. They offer binders in white, black, grey and green colour in tri-top design as of now, each of which is priced at £35 and with £5 shipping to India, the total cost comes out to be under INR 4,000.
5) Peecock Products
Peecock products offers a lot of products for trans men, not just binders. It is a Singapore based company. They have mid-length binders with velcro, buckle and zip fasteners in black and white colour. Prices vary from product to product, generally coming out to be between INR 2,000-3,000 including shipping.
If you are tired of solid black and white binders, you may checkout Shapeshifters. They offer custom made designs and fastenings. However, the price ranges from $45- $80 USD and it involves a long waiting time as well.
You can also consider the chest binders offered by T-kingdom, which is a Taiwan based company and Danaë which is based in Netherlands.
Also read: 10 Things You Shouldn’t Ask A Transgender Man
Apart from these, there are a some options available on Amazon as well that you may want to checkout. However, remember that buying binders online may sometimes contain hidden import fee so be prepared for that too.
If you don’t want to order your binder online, there’s also an option of getting a custom made binder for yourself right here in India. There’s a company called Norma Pvt. Ltd. which designs compression garments for medical purposes. However, you can also ask them to make a custom chest binder for you. You’ll have to contact them on their contact number which you can get by a simple Google search and then a representative will come to your place to take your measurements. The price usually ranges between INR 3,000-4,000.
If you can’t yet afford to buy yourself a chest binder, there are still ways to get yourself a binder or perhaps make a DIY binder.
Till you get yourself a proper binder, in the meanwhile, you may use a high or medium compression sports bra or make yourself a DIY binder.
A common DIY binder can be made by using a size or two small tank top and getting it stitched from the sides to give yourself the desired compression. Or you may simply fold it up to make your chest appear flat.
1. Chase Ross
On the first of every month, YouTuber and Trans Activist Chase Ross does an international giveaway of 30 GC2B binders. Here’s the link to his YouTube channel. You can also use his discount code- UPPERCASECHASE on GC2B on checkout to get 10% off.
2. MORF Binder Scheme
MORF is based in Manchester, UK. They run a binder exchange scheme where donated binders are provided to people in need all over the world. However, one has to pay for the postage.
3. Your Local Support Group
Keep in touch with your local support groups through chat messengers, sometimes you may be able to find a binder over there as well.
Apart from these you should keep searching for binder giveaways on all social networking platforms. You never know when you might get lucky!
Chest Binding Tips
- Never ever bind using duct tape or any other unsafe method.
- Don’t bind using a smaller size binder, it may hurt your ribs.
- For the harsh summer season of India, you should prefer the half or tri-top design binder as it allows for a little air flow.
- Drink lots of water to prevent overheating.
- Never wear your binder continuously for more than 8 hours at a time.
- Never sleep in your binder.
- Hand wash your binder, it may get ruined in the washing machine.
Also read: Coming Out As A Trans Man: Sometimes A Lifelong Process
Chitraksh Ashray is an introverted trans guy who is mostly found bent over books, both during his day job as well as in free time. Follow him on Instagram.
Featured Image Source: GC2B