Trans Lifeline Library:







Binding is the practice of using compression to achieve a flatter or more masculine-looking chest. It’s crucial that you follow safe binding practices every time you bind–failure to do so may result in damage to your ribs, lungs, and future surgical results. When done correctly, binding can be safe to do for up to 8 hours-per-day. It’s essential that you bind responsibly–dysphoria can be brutal, but lung damage or broken ribs from irresponsible use is even worse.

Never bind with duct tape, ace bandages, or anything other than a kinesiology tape or good-quality binding garment, like Transtape or GC2B binders. Using anything other than a product intended for chest compression can cause cracked ribs, difficulty breathing, poor surgical results post-top surgery, and more–it’s not worth the damage. If cost is a barrier, there are several ways to get free binders: there are some free binder programs listed in our gender affirming shopping section, Stand With Trans often has binders available at our clothing closet events, and many trans folks will pass on the binders they grow out of or no longer need after receiving top surgery.

Never sleep in a binder, and only swim or exercise in binders that are marketed for physical activity or are sized up to compensate for the extra compression and intensity of exercise. When you sweat or swim, the moisture will cause your binder to tighten, and this can cause damage to your body if you haven’t sized up or invested in a swimming binder. Some folks prefer to use sports bras instead for these activities.

Never intentionally buy a smaller binder than what’s recommended for your size. Not only will you most likely be unable to get it on, it can be dangerous. Only wearing binders that are your size is the best way to get the best results from your garment. Your binder will already be tight, but it should not be so tight that it’s cutting into your skin or making it impossible to take a deep breath. If you’re still growing, re-measuring yourself every few months is important to ensuring that you’re staying in an appropriately sized binder. If you’ve outgrown yours, you can always pass it on to another person.

When you bind, the 8-hours-per-day recommendation is the high end of how long you should wear a binder. It’s best to work your way up to that length of time and to take short binding breaks whenever possible, even if it’s just five minutes on your lunch break or restroom break. NEVER sleep in a binder. During a binding break, you should focus on taking deep breaths and stretching the muscles in your chest and back. 

Check out the links below for more safe-binding practices, information about binding alternatives, and guidance on purchasing a binder:


Binding Safety

Callen Lorde–Safer BindingPoint of Pride–Binding

Queering Medicine–Chest Binding

Transtape–Video Tutorial Course

Trans Youth Equality Foundation–Binding

Fenway Health–Binding

Healthline–Everything You Need To Know About Chest Binding

GC2B–Sizing, Fit, Safety & Binder Care

GC2B–Sizing Video


Binding Supplies


Transtape–Binding Tape


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