There is a recent health crisis that exists among teens ages 13 to 17 and it continues to get increasingly worse. It all revolves around binding tactics that transgender teens use to hide the fact that they have breasts. The girls who wish to look like guys are using binds, of which has existed for the past 15 years, to diminish their feelings of body discomfort—known as body dysphoria. Binds are thick spandex tank tops that flatten breasts and they are worn under the clothes of most transgenders. The problem with this method to hide breasts among teen transgenders is that it is creating health concerns and is also leading to serious surgeries and dangerous hormone injections.
Breast compression is not something new among women who attempted to hide their breasts, and lately, binders have been sold to teenagers without the need for parental consent. The company GC2B Transitional Apparel, founded by a transgender male, told The New York Times that the company had “at least a 200% growth” since 2015. Many teens are taking charge of their own right to decide how they want their body to look and it is causing a few problems, if they aren’t aware of the risks. The American Academy of Pediatrics stated in a report that about 150,000 teens ages 13 to 17 in the United States identify as transgender. The New York Times also reported that of those transgenders, those ages 8 to 23 were evaluated in a group of 500 by Dr. John Steever, assistant professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in New York. “Of the 500 patients observed within the ages of 8 to 23, 95% of the transmasculine teenagers in the program bind,” stated Steever. Binders are not considered medical devices so they are easy for teens to purchase online, which is why binds can be purchased by children as young as 8-years-old. The health concerns among medical experts and parents is that the process of binding can cut off the circulation of teens if they are worn excessively. A new research conducted by The Binding Health Project revealed that “binding is a part o daily life for many, but it can have negative impacts on physical health—ranging from minor to severe—across a wide range of symptoms, from pain in different parts of the body, to shortness of breath, to bruising or other skin changes.” The research team stated in a report by the Vice that they are also evaluating the mental health effects of chest binding.
Other concerns by the medical community is that some transgenders are using chest binds as a gateway to other more sever methods of transforming their bodies. “Of the 95% of the people I have evaluated, I have reported that they get started on cross-hormones shortly thereafter,” stated Steever. The fear linked to young adults, and children under the age of 13, is that hormone treatment can potentially affect future fertility. This is a growing concern due to some children “growing out” of their desire to transform their bodies when they get older and later finding that their bodies can no longer function normally.
Teenagers who are binding should receive the proper information on how to do so safely. Doctors recommend that binding be done within proper guidelines which include taking them off at night, limiting the amount of time they are worn within a day, and limiting the amount of binders worn (meaning, only wear one at a time). If transgender teens decide to bind, it is imperative that they understand the proper protocol in wearing one so that they can insure a safe and healthy process.