This technique is used to change the look of someone’s chest (usually breasts), reducing the size and shape, so that the chest appears flatter. Binding can cause serious health problems, such as breathing difficulties and damage to the ribs and back, so it is really important that it’s done safely and correctly. If you want to try binding:
Use a fit-for-purpose binder from a reputable company, making sure it fits with plenty of room. It can take a while to find a good fit, so you might need to try different sizes.
Wearing a binder in hot weather, for more than 8 hours a day, and during sleep and exercise, can be dangerous. Try to take breaks and days off.
Remember, it’s always best to ask for help and support when thinking of binding– especially if you are experiencing discomfort. (Morf are a great organisation who can offer help with binding).
There are safer and easier alternatives to chest binding, such as layering clothes or trying different underwear (eg sports bras/crop tops). For more information, check out these two links:
Make-up and hair styling
Make-up is a really great way to experiment with your look. It’s safe, you can change it whenever you want, and, if it all goes wrong, you can just wash it off and try again!
Make-up can be used to change the appearance of certain facial features, enhance what you have, and be part of someone’s gender expression. Or you can just go wild with the glitter and rainbow colours. It’s up to you! It Gets Better Project (https://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject) has lots of make-up tutorials and style Q&A’s from LGBT+ activists and influencers, to get you started.
Changing your hairstyle can also drastically change the way you look. Consider different lengths, styles and colours, you can gather plenty of inspo online. Check out Gendered Intelligence’s guide here (http://genderedintelligence.co.uk/projects/kip/genderex/haircuts) It’s probably better to go to a hairdresser for this one first, though, before trying it yourself!
Hairdressers/barbers, make-up counters and clothes shops can be very gendered places. It’s important that you feel comfortable while you try out different options, so try taking a friend/family member with you for support if you’re visiting somewhere new. Remember, it’s illegal for someone to discriminate against you because of your gender identity. Read more information on this here.
Tucking is a method used to change the look of someone’s penis and testicles, so that they are “concealed”, and the area looks smoother. Tucking can lead to health problems (such as infections and infertility), as well as pain, so, like binding, it is really important that it is done safely and correctly.
Some people push their penis back in-between their legs, and gently manoeuvre their testicles “back inside” their bodies, taping in place with medical tape. Others use underwear and material (known as a gaff) to tuck their genitals away, and give a smoother appearance (thought to be a safer method). Healthline has lots of info here. Remember:
Be patient and gentle: don’t force genitals into positions that feel uncomfortable. If you feel pain and discomfort, it is best to stop
It is best to take days off, and avoid tucking for long periods of time
Tucking by using snug underwear and a gaff is thought to be a safer and more comfortable method. Taping and moving testicles into the body makes it difficult to urinate (wee) when out and about, and has more health risks.
Always speak to a healthcare professional for support and advice before trying tucking.
Check out this Buzzfeed article for first hand experiences and extra advice.
Clothing is another easy and safe way to experiment with your identity, and your appearance. Like make-up, you can have a different look every day if you want to!
We can use clothing to enhance things we like, or draw attention away from things we aren’t too confident with. It can help people feel more confident and comfortable with their bodies, or be part of their gender expression.
Things to try:
layering items of clothing
different sizes and fits (loose or bodycon? Mini or maxi?)
prints and patterns vs block colours
different types of underwear (e.g padded bras, sports bras, shaping underwear)
Gendered intelligence has some good suggestions, when it comes to thinking about clothes, including “swap shops!” http://genderedintelligence.co.uk/projects/kip/genderex/clothes.
It’s important to follow school uniform guidelines/policy. However, your school should support you express your gender identity through your school uniform if there are gendered options.