Hi! I’m a non-binary student. I’m currently in search of a chest binder, but I don’t have a credit card to purchase one online. And I don’t want to ask to buy it through a family member or friend who has a credit card because I’m not currently out to any of my friends or family. Do you know if there’s anywhere/anyone in Guelph I can purchase a binder from?
As always, thanks so much for your question and asking OUTline! We’re glad that you’re reaching out and taking these steps towards getting what you need.
Unfortunately there is currently no store in Guelph that sells chest binders (boo!), though we’ve learned that a few community members are working to have them sold at the Stag Shop, as well as to establish a gently used binder swap. We’ll be sure to update this post when they manage to get these fabulous initiatives up and running.
For right now, we have contacted the Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity (GRCGED) and they have offered to purchase a chest binder online for you if you are able to provide them the cash upfront to do so. They’ll also need your size, binder type, and colour. You can pop into the Centre in the University Centre room 107 Monday to Thursday, 11 am to 5 pm, and speak with any of their lovely staff or volunteers. If you’d rather set up a specific meeting time, you can email staff member Lidia Fourcans at firstname.lastname@example.org to do so as well.
Another option is to purchase a prepaid credit card that can be bought with cash/debit at any major grocery store where gift cards and other prepaid cards are sold. Here’s an image of what a prepaid Visa card looks like for reference.
If you’d prefer to buy one in-person yourself and are able to make a trip to Toronto, Come as You Are is highly recommended. They have $5 used binders! Check out their website here for more info. The great part is, it’s a “worker-owned co-operative sex shop, and [they] have a fundamentally anti-capitalist, and sex-positive approach to sexual pleasure, health, and education”.
If you or anyone else is holding off or unable to purchase a binder, there are some ways to do it yourself. “Unfortunately, there aren’t really a lot of 100% safe and 100% effective DIY binding methods because no matter what you’re compressing your ribcage. It’s usually a bad idea to use anything that has to be wrapped around your body (like bandages, tensor or otherwise) because they’ll tighten each time you inhale and you probably won’t notice. Sometimes you can ‘bind’ by layering: use a tight shirt/undershirt on the bottom layer and then wear a couple looser shirts over that. It can help to use an open button-up shirt as the top layer in order to break up your silhouette. You can also try a sports bra that’s a size or two too small. (If you do this, follow the same safety rules as you would for a regular binder.) Some people with small chests have success with control top pantyhose: cut out the crotch to make a neck, and cut off the legs to make sleeves. Basically the #1 thing to keep in mind is that you should always be able to breathe comfortably and without pain, even after the binder has been on for a couple hours.” (from an anonymous community member). There’s another post about this on the Let’s Queer Things Up blog here.
Lastly, in case you or anyone else reading is interested, there is a Facebook group called the paTio, which “is a confidential, non-judgmental group for trans, genderqueer or questioning people and SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family and Allies) to meet and share resources, stories, experiences and support.” In addition, there’s a “gender intersect social” that happens the 3rd Monday of every month at 7 pm at the Red Brick Cafe (find the event page on Facebook here).
Thank you again for your question, and for reaching out to Ask OUTline!
All the best in your hunt,
Amber + community help