Changing Your Name

By Raven Hawkins (he/him)

Three trans young people sitting in a group, talking and laughing

Changing Your Name
For a lot of trans/gender diverse people, choosing a new name is a big step in transitioning. It’s usually one of the first steps of living as your true self. Some trans/gender diverse people keep their birth names, and this doesn’t make their identity any less valid. It’s important that you like your name and it feels right to you.

Choosing A Name
There are heaps of ways to go about choosing a name. A good place to start is looking through baby name websites (though these can be very binary), name generators, or those quizzes that give you a name based on your personality. You could compile a list of names you like the sound of and once it’s got a few options on it, narrow it down until you’re left with one.

If you have already come out, it may be a good idea to ask friends or family which names they think suit you or if there are any other names you could include on the list.  Some parents/guardians/caregivers might like to be involved with choosing your new name, since they often chose your old name too, and asking for their thoughts can be a good way to open the dialogue. The risk there is that they might feel entitled to insist on a name that they like, but makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s your name, and the most important thing is that you like it, so it’s up to you how much you want to involve other people in that process!

The pronoun dressing room is a good way to try out names and pronouns in relation to yourself in a safe way. You can also ask a particular group of friends, or even just one person, to call you by a name you’re considering, so you can try it out first. It’s perfectly fine to change your name more than once to find one that’s right for you. A name that you like now may not feel right in a few years time, and that’s okay too.

Telling Friends and Family
Letting your friends and family know that you want to change your name can be difficult. Remember to take your time and only come out when it’s safe and you’re ready. It can take some time for everyone to adjust to a new name, so giving people time or explaining why your new name is important to you can help. Pointing them to resources like this one can give them a better understanding of the situation without putting all the work on you.

Telling Your School
Like telling your family, there are heaps of ways to tell your school about your change of name. If there’s a teacher or other staff member you feel most comfortable with, they would be able to inform the rest of the staff of your new name and pronouns. It’s also possible for you or your parents to contact the principal and let them know why you’re changing your name. Feel free to use email templates such as this one from Tumblr:

Dear Professor [name],

My name is [Preferred name], and I will be attending your course [blank] on [days] at [time] this [term]. I am transgender and have not yet legally changed my name. On your roster is my legal name, [Legal name]. I would greatly appreciate it if you refer to me as [Preferred name] and use [pronouns] when referring to me. Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to starting your course next week.

Sincerely,
[Preferred name]

Legally Changing Your Name
You can apply to change your name if you are 18 years of age or older and you are born in Victoria, or born overseas and have been living in Victoria for at least 12 months before your application. If you have moved interstate, you must apply to the Registry in the State or Territory of your birth. The adult change of name form can be found on the Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria. (here)

If you are under 18, you will need permission from your parent/s or legal guardian to change your name. The same residence rules apply no matter what age you are. The application form and other information can be found here.

After you have changed your name, you will receive a new birth certificate (if born in Victoria) or a change of name certificate (If born overseas). The certificate will show your birth name and your new name, as well as any other change of name history. Once you have received these certificates, you will need to update any legal identity documents such as a driver licence, passport, bank account, electoral enrolment, utility accounts (water, electricity, gas, etc), superannuation and insurance. You are able to change your name every 12 months.

With all the different people to tell and decisions to make, changing your name be a lot of work, but once it’s done, you’ll have the name you want!

Where To Get a Binder

By Raven Hawkins (he/him)

two trans young people holding up different coloured binders and smiling

Looking to buy a binder? You came to the right place!

Well, at least the right place to find the right place. There are many online stores that sell chest binders to transgender and gender diverse people. It’s important to remember to never bind with anything other than a proper binder (even for cosplay), as materials such as tape and bandages can do serious damage to your chest, ribs, and lungs. You should never bind for more than eight hours at a time, or to run with a binder on. When looking to purchase a binder, make sure you measured yourself correctly and look at each stores sizing rubric before choosing your size. This prevents you from getting the wrong size, which can cause injury.If you’re between sizes, it’s a good idea to go for the larger one, because a binder that’s too small can cause injury. It’s important to be comfortable in your binder, both physically and mentally.

For more information on binding: https://ygender.org.au/a-guide-to-binding-safely

Store Options

The most well known places for getting a binder are gc2b and UnderWorks, but there are plenty of other places online that sell very good quality chest binders. All prices are in Australian dollars (AUD) and don’t include shipping.

Gc2b  $45 – $50
https://www.gc2b.co/

Gc2b is a well known online store that sells chest binders at a reasonable price. It’s a trans owned store that ships worldwide. They have a diverse size range and the binders are about as comfortable as binders can get. They arrive (generally) within a month from the USA in very discrete packaging with a return envelope is you need a replacement. The binders come in black, white, grey, blue, red and green, as well as 5 skin tones (which are very good for wearing under white shirts). The binders only come in two styles, the tank (sleeveless shirt) and the half tank (also sleeveless, but only reaches to the base of the ribs, and costs slightly less.) Gc2b only sells pullover binders, which can be difficult to get on at first, but you get used to it and they stretch over time. Their binders don’t restrict breathing and are good if you walk a lot **don’t work out in a binder**. They do stretch over time, but generally last up to a year or two if looked after well. Gc2b mail your order with the United States Postal Service (USPS) which allows you to track your delivery from the time it’s left the store.   This is the source Ygender recommends as the safest and most reliable option we’ve found!

T Kingdom  $40 – $80
www.t-kingdom.com

T Kingdom is a company founded by Winson Lo in 1999 to sell comfortable binders to gay and transgender people in Taiwan, but now ships a variety of chest binders worldwide. The binders only come in black and white, and either tank or a half tank. The binders have backs similar to a sports bra – that cuts around the shoulder blades. Unlike gc2b, binders from T Kingdom are available with velcro or a zipper, instead of a pullover. The zipper makes it very easy to put on and take off, though it would show through a tight shirt.  The velcro allows you to change the width of the binder depending on your chest size. It’s not legally possible to get a return and exchange if you purchase the wrong size, but a replacement may be possible. You can track your delivery once it has been shipped out, with information on the website. Shipping generally takes between 2 – 3 weeks.

Underworks  $40
http://www.f2mbinders.com/

Underworks are well known for being a cheap but good quality alternative for chest binders. The f2m website is aimed at transgender guys, but Underworks itself is not owned or aimed at transgender people. The most popular binder is the magicotton tank, which is very similar in appearance to gc2b’s tank binders, but it only one layer thick and a lot cooler as far as temperature goes. They are only available in black and white. Underworks has a bulk pricing deal, meaning that the more binders you purchase at once, the more you save. This is good if you want to get an extra binder a size too big to give your back, chest and shoulders a few days off. It also gives you a chance to still be wearing a binder while your others are being washed. This binder is quite effective at flattening, but is quite a high cut, which isn’t good for wearing under v-necks or other low cut shirts. It can also rub on your underarms. That being said, it’s reasonably comfortable and made out of quite a soft material.

DANAE  $50 – $85
https://www.danae.info/nl/female-male/tops

On the slightly more expensive side is DANAE. A trans friendly Dutch company that sells good quality binders. It gives you the option of having an extra strong binder material for an extra $5 and if you are between sizes or want to make sure your binder fits very well, you can have it tailor made for an extra $17. The binders come in white, black, beige, or brown. DANAE also sells swimwear for gender diverse people wanting a flatter chest. There’s information on all the binders regarding chest size and whether it’s suitable for exercise on the website. The tank binders are perfect if you have a larger chest, but are suitable for all sizes, the half tanks are better for small chests and don’t get as warm. The bands are cooler still, are good for wide cut shirts, and are adjustable.

NABAY up to $100
http://en.nabeshirt.com/shop/

NABAY is a lesser known Japanese brand that sells very high quality binders that are suitable for running and swimming. The binders come in smaller sizes than these other stores. They are available with or without sleeves in blue, red, black, or beige, depending on the style. Other products on the website include shoe insoles that make you slightly taller ($46). The running shirts are very good if you are buying your first binder, as they are breathable and easy to get on and off, while still flattening your chest.

There’s a lot to consider when buying a binder, and it can seem a bit overwhelming at first. If you’re unsure, have any more questions, or want a binder but can’t afford one, check out https://ygender.org.au/trans-youth-support-kits or contact us at [email protected]!

We help trans young people access binders and other gender affirming items. To support that program and make sure we can provide items to everyone who needs it, make a donation at https://chuffed.org/project/trans-youth-support-kits!

Why Binders Matter

By Rory Blundell (he/him)

two trans young people, one in a dress and one in a shirt and pants, holding up different coloured binders

The first binder I ever owned, I stealthily bought online at 17. I wasn’t out as trans and I was still exploring parts of my gender identity, so finally getting the nerve to seek out and order a binder was huge for 17 year-old me.

I snuck into my parent’s room so I could see what it looked like in a full-length mirror. After (much) struggling, I finally was able to look at myself, and immediately, something felt right. Part of my body that I had always felt a sense of unease and discomfort with finally really fit me.

I slipped on one of my favourite shirts and grinned. Suddenly the shirt that had previously sat kind of funny and had sort-of-but-not-really fit around my chest was the perfect shape. This feeling was bittersweet as I still wasn’t out to anyone yet and I could only wear my binder in private.

The binders I have now were given to me by one of my good trans guy friends. Miraculously he had very similar measurements to me, and they fit perfectly. They were much better quality than the one I’d sneaky bought aged 17 and far more comfortable.

Finally having binders that not only fit well but also felt great was a life-changing moment for me. I’d been out as trans for a few months but this felt like the moment I was finally taking steps toward physically expressing my gender identity. Instead of wearing them in secret, wearing binders became part of my every day life. They became an important part of how I expressed myself and made me feel more comfortable in my identity.

Of course, binding properly is more than having good quality, well-fitted binders. It means giving myself time off from wearing them when they feel too restrictive or I’m not physically up to wearing them. It can also be about what I wear, as sometimes I feel comfortable wearing clothing that reveals my binder, and other times I don’t.

I was extremely lucky in how I got my binders. A lot of trans people find accessing well-made, fitted binders very difficult. Proper binders can be very expensive and often have to be ordered online from overseas.

Like when I was 17, some trans people can’t buy binders because they aren’t out. or others, the limited sizes that most binders come in just don’t work for them. It can also be hard to find information about safe binding practices, making it even more difficult for young trans and gender diverse people to know about safe options.

This makes resources like A Guide to Binding Safely and Trans Youth Support Kits crucial. Having access to clear, accurate information lets trans young people make informed decisions about their body and expression, and makes sure they can do so safely. Trans Youth Support Kits is a program for trans young people to access free or low-cost gender affirming items (including binders!), which can make a world of difference. Through this program, one of my close friends who was binding unsafely managed to get a binder that not only felt better, but made them feel more confident in coming out to some of their family members.

Binding is more than just a method of expressing gender identity; for me, properly binding is a form of self-care. It makes me feel good in the clothes I love. It gives me a greater sense of self-esteem and more confidence in myself. Put simply, wearing a binder makes me feel more like me and make me feel far more comfortable going out into the world.

If you’d like to help even more trans/gender diverse young people access the things they need, make a donation here.

A Guide to Binding Safely

two trans young people, one in a dress and one in a shirt and pants, holding up different coloured binders

What is binding?
Binding is a way of temporarily making your chest look flatter. Binding can be done with professional binders designed specifically for that purpose, or with clothing or sports compression wear.

Why do people bind?
People bind for all sorts of reasons: to help lessen gender dysphoria; to better express their gender identity; or just because it makes them happy. Some people will bind regularly, and others might bind infrequently, or only in certain spaces (e.g., at work, visiting family, or around friends).

Being able to express yourself in a way that feels right is a really empowering experience for a lot of trans people, and many of us bind because it makes us feel happier, confident, and affirmed.

For some people, binding is also really important for their mental health. Having to deal with dysphoria can be very distressing, and being able to alleviate that is really beneficial. It can be the difference between feeling stressed and self conscious, and being happy, safe, and  able to be engage with your community.

Trans people’s reasons for binding will vary from person to person, and may change over time. They can be motivated by a huge combination of different factors, and no one else can decide if those reasons are “good enough” or not. It’s all about what the person binding chooses, because it’s their body.

Who is binding for?
When people think about binding, they usually think of transgender men, but not all trans men bind, and they aren’t the only ones who do it either! Some non-binary people will also want to bind their chests, and some trans men never will. Whether or not someone binds doesn’t say anything about how valid their identity is.

Are there health risks?
There are lots of ways to bind, and it’s important to know all the facts.. Because binding involves putting pressure on the chest, it’s important to understand how to bind safely, and what to avoid.

Using improper items or methods, like ace bandages or tape, is never a good idea. Ace bandages are designed to tighten with movement, and can cause long-term damage to the chest, ribs, or breathing issues.

How to bind safely
There are many different ways to bind, but there are some things to keep in mind whatever method you’re using.

  • It’s a good idea to start off with only binding for an hour or two, and slowly working up to longer times. This way, your body can get used to the increased pressure, and you can start working out how long you can bind without it becoming painful or uncomfortable.
  • Don’t bind for longer than eight hours at a time
  • It’s important to take breaks from wearing a binder. It can be uncomfortable for some people to take their binder off around others, but even going into the bathroom to take it off for a few minutes can help!
  • If you’re in pain or having difficulty breathing, take your binder off as soon as possible.
  • When you’re looking straight down at your chest, it looks like it sticks out more than if you’re looking at it from the front. If you’re worried about other people noticing, try checking your chest in a mirror, and remember that other people usually aren’t paying as much attention to you as you are.

Binding Methods

A professional binder
They look like singlets or undershirts, and are designed to compress chest tissue. Binders that are designed for trans people are usually made with long term use in mind, so it’s important to do your research first. A good place to start is gc2b.

Binders are quite tight, so try putting it on and taking it off before you wear it out.

Professional binders are the most effective and safest, but can also be quite expensive. If you’re a trans/gender diverse young person and need support to get a binder, you can contact us at [email protected], and check out Trans Youth Support Kits.

Sports compression wear
These are tight, form-fitting articles of clothing sold in sports stores. They won’t compress your chest as much as a binder would, but they’re often cheaper, and you can try them on in-store! It can also be useful if you live with people whom you aren’t out to, or who aren’t supportive of transgender people.

Shirts
This one doesn’t do much, especially for people with larger chests, and it’s not technically binding, but it can be better than nothing. Wearing a loose shirt or jumper over sports compression wear or a binder can help if your chest still isn’t a flat as you’d like. This is also useful for trans/gender diverse people who are not ready or safely able to out to those around them.

We help trans young people access binders and other gender affirming items. To support that program and make sure we can provide items to everyone who needs it, make a donation at Trans Youth Support Kits!