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Dear Parent, Caregiver or Guardian,
Your child has been in contact with our staff regarding our In a Bind chest binder exchange program. We provide safe, ergonomically designed chest binders free of charge to youth who do not have the means to purchase one for themselves. We also assist youth from families at every economic level to have the sometimes difficult conversation with their parents about what chest binders are and why they want one.
Chest binders are compression garments used by female-bodied individuals that identify as male or gender nonconforming and wish to minimize the appearance of breasts. Binding helps both to increase confidence in social interactions and lessen the dysphoria many of these youth experience regarding their chests.
This need to bind their breasts can be very strong and impossible to ignore. Youth unable to obtain a properly designed binder will often try multiple methods to minimize the appearance of their breasts, many of which can be dangerous. The common use of Ace bandages, for example, can cause irreversible damage to the lungs and ribcage, especially when used by growing adolescents. In contrast, proper binders (such as those sold by Underworks1) are specifically designed to provide safe, comfortable and effective compression.
Social acceptance and personal appearance are important to all of us, but are especially important to teens and young adults. Helping your child feel comfortable and confident about their body during this time is critical to developing self-confidence that will last a lifetime. The cost of a binder averages around $40, which may seem expensive at first, but is actually less expensive than a pair of name-brand jeans or shoes and will do so much more to help a youth feel good about themselves.
If this is the first you’ve heard about your child’s gender identity, gender expression or their desire to bind, it is natural to have a lot of questions. It is also natural to feel nervous, scared, or sad, but please know that you and your child are not alone. Here at TransActive we have conversations with youth and their loved ones every day.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for additional resources or with any questions or concerns you may have. We may be reached by calling 503-252-3000 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also speak with a member of our In a Bind staff directly by emailing email@example.com.
In a Bind Project Coordinator
1 TransActive receives no financial benefit from Underworks.
Tip sheet and advice for youth on writing a letter to come out to parents and guardians.
A letter for parents from In a Bind staff explaining what binders are and why they're important.
Answers to questions commonly asked by parents about gender identity and binding.