Chest binding is a fact of life for many people, including trans men, some gay women, intersex people, and gender non-conforming individuals like Naomhan. Flattening the appearance of one's breasts—whether that's through Ace bandages, compression undergarments, layered T-shirts, sports bras, or commercial binders—doesn't just make it easier to pass in public as the correct gender or wear masculine clothes. For many, it's a matter of psychological well-being.
... "Based on our preliminary analysis, for most participants, binding was a positive experience and led to improvements in mood and self-esteem, minimized gender dysphoria, anxiety, and depression, and helped them to feel in control of their bodies," a report they published on the study reads. "In fact, some reported that a positive impact on emotional and behavioral health makes the physical discomfort of binding worth it."
... but it can have negative impacts on your physical health—ranging from minor to severe—across a wide range of symptoms, from pain in different parts of your body, to shortness of breath, to bruising or other skin changes,"...
Despite the ubiquity of the practice, a staggering 97.2 percent of those surveyed reported at least one negative health outcome that they attributed to binding. Seventy-four percent reported pain-related concerns—the most common side effect was back pain (53.8 percent), followed by overheating (53.5 percent), chest pain (48.8 percent), shortness of breath (46.6 percent), and itching (44.9 percent). Fifty respondents even believed they had suffered from rib fractures as a result of binding.
None of them had ever approached a medical professional for advice on binding, even if they were in pain from binding.
"... The doctor is just going to tell me to stop doing what I'm doing that hurts me. I don't see the point."
... the research shows that commercial binders—such as those sold by Underworks—are actually most commonly associated with negative health outcomes. Participants who wore commercial binders reported 20 out of the 28 health outcomes listed in the study. Duct tape or plastic wrap—materials that people are commonly advised against binding with—were only associated with 13 out of the 28 side effects.
Many trans and gender non-conforming individuals say that they would continue binding regardless of the physical health risks. The psychological relief provided by binding—as well as the increased ability to pass in public as one's correct gender—often overweighs any potential downside.
How weird is our world, when some people go through this to hide their breasts and others (collectively) spend billions making them more noticeable. Beliefs, be they about fashion, religion, morality, or whatever are so arbitrary. </formalist rant>