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Support for AFAB people who don't bind/don't bind often?


Rae Alex Bright

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Rae Alex Bright

Hi I'm new here :)

 

I apologize in advance but I literally didn't know where to put this so it's going in the general questions and answers section.

 

I've identified as nonbinary for about three years, and have been relatively comfortable with that identity. I do find that I identify more with the trans label overall now though however, especially as I am thinking I might be transmasculine. Anyway, as the title suggests, I'm AFAB, and I have relatively large breasts (unfortunately). I have three GC2B medium binders which work pretty well, although I've never been completely flat before. The issue is, I have intertrigo under my breasts that is often triggered by me wearing a binder, sports bra, no bra, or basically anything that doesn't physically lift the breasts up and stop them from chafing.

 

I do experience chest dysphoria, however not so badly that I feel I need to bind all the time. I love how I look when I'm binding, but equally, my quality of life is literally impaired when I do because of my skin conditions. Sometimes it is so extreme that it bleeds and oozes and it just really is not pleasant at all. It makes me feel thoroughly miserable.

 

I feel that if I don't bind, I won't get taken seriously as a nonbinary/trans person, which I know is silly. If one of my trans guy friends ever told me he'd stopped binding I wouldn't judge him a bit. He's a man, binder or no binder. Yet when I try to apply this to myself I can't see myself as anything but a very obviously AFAB person. If I had a much smaller chest I would honestly feel so much better as they wouldn't be as noticeable.

 

I suppose this is less of a question, and more of me trying to find support or people with similar issues. Are there any of AFAB nonbinary people/transmascs out here with similar issues? How do y'all deal with it? Are there any tips anyone can give me on self acceptance and positivity/encouragement for transmascs who don't/can't bind very often/at all? Thanks :)

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Hi Rae Alex Bright

2 hours ago, Rae Alex Bright said:

I've identified as nonbinary for about three years, and have been relatively comfortable with that identity. I do find that I identify more with the trans label overall now though however, especially as I am thinking I might be transmasculine.

I started out thinking "nonbinary" myself.  But that didn't last.

Since I am going in the opposite direction, I can't really speak to your issue.  But there are people here who can.

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  • Admin

Hi Rae!   I looked up the skin issue, since I myself have rotating problems from the normal bacteria and yeasts that live on my skin, I had not had mine called the name you use, but now that I see what it is, I would talk to my PCP doctor for a dermatology referral and see if they can prescribe a medication that will keep the condition under control, I know there are a couple of body sprays that can control it.  If you are under a doctor's care for it, then of course  keep it up.  I actually have problems under my breasts as well.  Mine are small and saggy which is where the irritation takes place.  Any compression, whether bra or binder or even compression shirts are going to trap moisture I am sorry to say.  A cotton T-shirt under the spandex garments and peeking out can help wick away some of the moisture, but you will need to get the clothing -- all of it -- off after a certain time period and let your skin air dry and to use the prescribed or recommend medications to keep it in check. 

 

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Rae Alex Bright

Thank you for your advice. I am not under any medical supervision for my skin conditions and I have been thinking after lockdown I really should go and have a proper check over. It tends to get worse in the winter as the air is dryer. I'm thinking a steroid cream might help to clear it up, as it did with my eczema. I've head that some people wear a cotton vest or undershirt under their binders/sports bras/bras, so I might give that a go :)

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  • Forum Moderator

Ok yikes, eczema. Yeah I can see that. My bra strap causes break-outs all the freaking time. I moisturize like a fiend. Especially in the winter. Use the steroid cream sparingly. My doctor gives me a stern finger waggling when I overindulge.

 

So yeah. Moisturize the heck out of that.

 

Hugs!

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Speaking from experience, if you wear a button-down shirt over your regular shirt, and leave the button-down open, so that the chest outline is obscured, you can pass as male even if you don't bind. But I thought maybe what you were looking for from your initial post is, support for obviously having a larger chest and still wanting to be recognized as male, even if you don't try to hide the chest size. If so, consider me one of those who thinks we need more "this is also what a trans man looks like" in our world. If you're healthier without binding, there is no transgender law that says you have to do it.

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  • Forum Moderator

I also have a large chest and binders do something but not much and I used to over wear binders. Though I find that when I do wear binders, I feel even more unhappy that it actually didn't make me have a flat chest, so I don't typically wear my binder at home (Could also be because my parents never let me buy a good binder, even though I have my own money) so if you get what I am saying, I feel even worse when I wear my binder because it doesn't do what I thought it would do. I kinda get my own hopes up too high for something I got for free. 

 

Luckily I am moving soon and can start my transition :)) 

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Hey :)

So, I'm AFAB like you, and trans, and don't own a binder at the moment, even if I'm considering buying one because I feel a lot of chest dysphoria at the moment. I do have large breasts, which isn't helping, and even if I wear a large jacket and baggy clothes people still read my shape as feminine and it makes me so desperate at the moment, so I really feel you... I mean I put a lot of effort into trying to pass as masculine and people see me and instantly think I'm a woman, so... I'm not sure I have any real tips for you, but I give you my support. And truly you're not alone AT ALL with this issue. I've been thinking about the way I don't pass all day, so... Just to tell you that yes, you're not any less of a man if you don't wear a binder. And you can be a man or whatever you are without having to conform to what other transgender people do. I personnally feel like wearing a binder isn't especially such a masculine thing to do even if it helps with chest dyphoria, so please, stay healthly, and I hope you'll find tricks for that problem soon !

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Welcome Rae,

 

I'm not long into my transition so I can offer only a limited experience, but here it is

 

I don't bind, I use a sports bra, because the idea of squeezing my chest cavity and pushing my organs down is awful to me. Plus how uncomfortable it is. So I make do with playing with clothes that don't outline the chest.

 

That said, what helps me feel better with myself is not so much if my breasts show or not. It depends on how much connection I have with my masculine side. I feel way more confident and at ease when I focus on my connection with myself, my name, my real identity, than when I focus on how I look.

 

 

 

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To solve this I just wear a really baggy hoodie, which I know only makes me look smaller, but hides my chest to some degree, I also wear coats which help :)) 

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Heather Nicole

I'm not sure I can be of any help, and I'm sorry if I'm not (I'm an AMAB questioning things, maybe transfeminine, maybe MtF, we'll see how therapy goes). But if I can offer anything, I think it's maybe worth pointing out that even a lot of AMABs, particularly ones with some extra bodyweight (which is a LOT of people these days, and definitely includes me ever since I was 13!) have entirely noticeable "chest twins". But, for these people, really nobody thinks anything of it, or even gives it a second glance. Such people are far more likely to be called out as overweight than have any gender-related attention paid to their less than flat chest. (And even being called out as overweight is pretty rare anymore, given how common it's become.)

 

And yes, I realize maybe it's not exactly the same thing. I understand you've mentioned non-binary as a possibility. And sure, there can be technical differences in the underlying internal tissue in the chest. And there can be shape differences (but then, everyone with anything on their chest has different shapes and proportions going on anyway.) But I think it may be worth trying to keep in mind that there are a lot of people in this world (again, like me!) with plain-as-day twin protrusions on their chests, that nobody would mistake for being a ciswomen. (And don't forget, pectoral muscles are also twin-upper-chest-protrusions, too!!)

 

Although we don't usually think about things this way on a conscious level, everyone these days really is so accustomed to seeing guys (and amabs like me) with less-than-flat chests, so that as long as the other cues suggest "not a ciswoman", people will see you and register "not a woman" before their subconscious will even notice your chest.

 

At least, that's my 2 cents (2 pence?) anyway. If it helps, then great, if not and I'm way off-base, then just kindly disregard! ;)

 

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Rae Alex Bright
14 hours ago, DonkeySocks said:

Speaking from experience, if you wear a button-down shirt over your regular shirt, and leave the button-down open, so that the chest outline is obscured, you can pass as male even if you don't bind. But I thought maybe what you were looking for from your initial post is, support for obviously having a larger chest and still wanting to be recognized as male, even if you don't try to hide the chest size. If so, consider me one of those who thinks we need more "this is also what a trans man looks like" in our world. If you're healthier without binding, there is no transgender law that says you have to do it.

Thank you, this actually helped a lot. I'm actually wearing an open flannel under a sweatshirt as we speak and you know, I've never looked at it that way before but I guess you're right! My chest isn't particularly visible at all even though I'm not binding.

 

And I absolutely agree. We need more representation of trans men/transmascs who don't bind - especially because they don't want to. It's a valid enough reason not to bind.

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Rae Alex Bright
14 hours ago, Aidan5 said:

I also have a large chest and binders do something but not much and I used to over wear binders. Though I find that when I do wear binders, I feel even more unhappy that it actually didn't make me have a flat chest, so I don't typically wear my binder at home (Could also be because my parents never let me buy a good binder, even though I have my own money) so if you get what I am saying, I feel even worse when I wear my binder because it doesn't do what I thought it would do. I kinda get my own hopes up too high for something I got for free. 

 

Luckily I am moving soon and can start my transition :)) 

Ah yep, can relate. My binders don't make me 100% flat either and sometimes can even cause dysphoria because of it. I normally only bind if I'm going out with friends or for a special occasion. I wish you luck with your transition :)

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Rae Alex Bright
14 hours ago, MiloR said:

Hey :)

So, I'm AFAB like you, and trans, and don't own a binder at the moment, even if I'm considering buying one because I feel a lot of chest dysphoria at the moment. I do have large breasts, which isn't helping, and even if I wear a large jacket and baggy clothes people still read my shape as feminine and it makes me so desperate at the moment, so I really feel you... I mean I put a lot of effort into trying to pass as masculine and people see me and instantly think I'm a woman, so... I'm not sure I have any real tips for you, but I give you my support. And truly you're not alone AT ALL with this issue. I've been thinking about the way I don't pass all day, so... Just to tell you that yes, you're not any less of a man if you don't wear a binder. And you can be a man or whatever you are without having to conform to what other transgender people do. I personnally feel like wearing a binder isn't especially such a masculine thing to do even if it helps with chest dyphoria, so please, stay healthly, and I hope you'll find tricks for that problem soon !

Hi :)

 

Thank you for this. It was really lovely to hear tbh :D

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Rae Alex Bright
14 hours ago, Gabriel said:

Welcome Rae,

 

I'm not long into my transition so I can offer only a limited experience, but here it is

 

I don't bind, I use a sports bra, because the idea of squeezing my chest cavity and pushing my organs down is awful to me. Plus how uncomfortable it is. So I make do with playing with clothes that don't outline the chest.

 

That said, what helps me feel better with myself is not so much if my breasts show or not. It depends on how much connection I have with my masculine side. I feel way more confident and at ease when I focus on my connection with myself, my name, my real identity, than when I focus on how I look.

 

 

 

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I recently went through a (social) name change which helped a lot, and have requested that people use he/him pronouns as well as they/them. Anything that makes me look or feel more masculine helps I think.

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Rae Alex Bright
4 hours ago, Heather Nicole said:

I'm not sure I can be of any help, and I'm sorry if I'm not (I'm an AMAB questioning things, maybe transfeminine, maybe MtF, we'll see how therapy goes). But if I can offer anything, I think it's maybe worth pointing out that even a lot of AMABs, particularly ones with some extra bodyweight (which is a LOT of people these days, and definitely includes me ever since I was 13!) have entirely noticeable "chest twins". But, for these people, really nobody thinks anything of it, or even gives it a second glance. Such people are far more likely to be called out as overweight than have any gender-related attention paid to their less than flat chest. (And even being called out as overweight is pretty rare anymore, given how common it's become.)

 

And yes, I realize maybe it's not exactly the same thing. I understand you've mentioned non-binary as a possibility. And sure, there can be technical differences in the underlying internal tissue in the chest. And there can be shape differences (but then, everyone with anything on their chest has different shapes and proportions going on anyway.) But I think it may be worth trying to keep in mind that there are a lot of people in this world (again, like me!) with plain-as-day twin protrusions on their chests, that nobody would mistake for being a ciswomen. (And don't forget, pectoral muscles are also twin-upper-chest-protrusions, too!!)

 

Although we don't usually think about things this way on a conscious level, everyone these days really is so accustomed to seeing guys (and amabs like me) with less-than-flat chests, so that as long as the other cues suggest "not a ciswoman", people will see you and register "not a woman" before their subconscious will even notice your chest.

 

At least, that's my 2 cents (2 pence?) anyway. If it helps, then great, if not and I'm way off-base, then just kindly disregard! ;)

 

Thank you, this did actually help a lot. People listening to what I have to say helps to be honest haha. I've never thought about it like that, but you're definitely right. I know loads of cis men with a little bit of chest jiggle, yet no one seems to question their maleness and masculinity, so it makes perfect sense - I happen to have chest jiggle too (perhaps a bit more than I'd like), and it doesn't validate my transmasc/nonbinary identity :)

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4 hours ago, Rae Alex Bright said:

no one seems to question their maleness and masculinity, so it makes perfect sense - I happen to have chest jiggle too (perhaps a bit more than I'd like), and it doesn't validate my transmasc/nonbinary identity :)

Yay!! There you go! Time to go rock the world :) 

 

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8 hours ago, Rae Alex Bright said:

Ah yep, can relate. My binders don't make me 100% flat either and sometimes can even cause dysphoria because of it. I normally only bind if I'm going out with friends or for a special occasion. I wish you luck with your transition :)

Layers, that's all I can say haha. Luckily for me I am really good at wearing lots of clothes without getting over heated. Though I can also wear shorts is negative degree weather, I am a strange individual... Also good luck to you too! I hope you find the support and solution you are seeking :)) 

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I can't bind due to a physical disability, and I have a large chest. I typically wear sports bras when going out. I have tried compression shirts, but they are too uncomfortable. (I've trauma to my chest, so wearing anything that clings/compresses for too long causes severe pain.) I also live in a very humid and hot climate, so layering can be annoying. I typically just wear a sports bra, t-shirt, and sometimes a sleeveless denim jacket in the summer. Most people don't look at chests to identify people, so unless you're wearing something that makes that more obvious, it is easier to pass. I've passed just wearing a slightly baggy t-shirt. Also, the way that you carry yourself can also impact passing.  

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