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Trans Teen Worried About Parents’ Reaction After He Buys A Chest Binder Against Their Wishes

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Coming out as trans is currently a difficult affair in the United States.  Legislators are making it more and more difficult for trans kids, in particular, to be honored as their gender. Parents often continue to make the situation difficult as well.

One trans Redditor, UnGeneric_Human, found himself in a situation where his parents were unsupportive of his transition, so he took matters into his own hands.  He now fears retaliation from his parents.

In order to make sure he’d made the right choice, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback from objective strangers.

He asked:

“AITA For buying a binder behind my parents backs?”

Our original poster, or OP, talked about the circumstances surrounding his transition:

“I am 15, and trans ftm [female to male]. My dad has known this for almost 2 years, my mum has known for almost a year.”

“Both of my parents are very against the idea of me getting a chest binder (to make my chest flatter and hide boobs) and don’t let me explain why I want one without looking extremely annoyed and causing me to deny everything and stop the conversation immediately.”

“The same happens any time trans topics are mentioned, they start denying my identity and try to stop the conversation.”

He has been resorting to less healthy and comfortable methods of binding:

“A couple months ago I had enough money to buy myself a binder and my friend used her card to pay for it.”

“My parents still don’t know this but are recently becoming more and more suspicious about the possibility of me owning one.”

“I know for a fact that i will be in a sh*t tonne of trouble if they find out.”

“I know that they told me explicitly they didn’t want me getting one, but I was desperate and damaging myself out of desperation to be comfortable. I still have obvious marks from my previous mistakes.”

And OP’s parents are really making the situation more difficult for him:

“My parents say they support me but act differently.”

“They don’t use my name or pronouns, still try to make me be feminine, point out feminine things about me and seem to try and forget that I’ve come out to them. I’m becoming angrier about it recently and I’m not proud of it.”

“I tried to not bind but it’s difficult and I can’t handle it.”

“I did a good thing in terms of my health by getting a proper binder and not using what I did previously, but I also went against what my parents said and I know that wasn’t the right thing to do.”

“But am I the a**hole for this?”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Reddit agreed that OP did what he had to do.

“NTA. While long term binding can be dangerous, as long as you’re being safe and not binding for too long, in your sleep etc, you should be just fine.”

“I’m sorry your parents aren’t being supportive – are you seeing a therapist or a counselor? I recommend finding one who is friendly to LGBT – especially T – issues, as it can help immensely with your personal life too.”

“I’m glad you know about binder safety! Please continue to be safe about binding as that can then lead to safe top surgery if you elect to do so in the future. Good luck, dude!”-roxadox

“NTA, but I wanted to jump in on this comment, as your parents aren’t supporting you, you need someone who you can trust and talk to, a good therapist or counsellor can be that person, and help you find your way.”

“The world really needs to understand that people need to be themselves and not be annoyed or pressure others to deny themselves.”

“So, be the you that you are comfortable and happy with, let the world come to acceptance of you! But, please be safe, the world needs you in it, and would be less of a happy place if you hurt yourself because your parents were unaccepting and you couldn’t do things properly.”-ARbldr

“If legit counseling/therapy is not a possible thing atm, try looking into your local LGBTQ+ resource center.”

“Some will have all ages support groups that meet after school. It’s not the same as actual treatment, but definitely a step in the right direction for OP to be able to talk about the issues they’re going through.”

“I’m so sorry your family is not supportive of your transition, and I hope after some time they learn to embrace you as you are.”

“Also, NTA. You’re taking your mental health and gender affirmation into your own hands in a way that you can control.”-PluvianAmare

“NTA op, they clearly aren’t supporting you if they aren’t respecting your pronouns and name, you need to look after your mental health if your parents aren’t.”

“I’m sure you already have because you mentioned past mistakes but in case you haven’t look up binding and do your research, just because it’s a proper binder doesn’t mean there aren’t risks involved with binding still. Be safe.”

“I’m sorry your parents aren’t supportive ❤️”-WeeMan0701

And people are specifically calling out OP’s parents and their lack of support.

“NTA. When you are transgender, it is necessary to make yourself feel as much as the gender you’re transitioning to/that you are as you want to/can, so that your mental health isn’t destroyed.”

“If this is what you need, then go for it. Your parents shouldn’t ignore your needs like this. I’m sorry about your “””supportive””” parents not wanting you to be happy as the person that you really are.”

“Remember to bind safely!”-daaaaanica

“NTA contact your GP practice and change the contact details to yours, this means that your parents won’t get the reminders about your appointments and it won’t be the number/email that the hospital or GP practice contact you on.”

“If you want to you can arrange for a password/phrase to keep your medical details confidential so information cannot be given out without the correct password/phrase being given.”

“This is to stop your parents cancelling your appointments, finding out what you’ve been talking about or messing around with your medication.”

“Then get a phone call or face to face appointment with your GP, explain that you want to be referred to the gender dysmorphia clinic.”

“You’ll wait a while to be seen but you will be seen. At 16 you can easily be seen by the nurse or GP without your parents being present or aware of the details.”-randomnurse

“NTA. your identity is your identity. If a binder makes it easier for you to deal with dysphoria, you should be able to wear one (safely, with breaks, not more than 8 hours, not too tight, but you know the drill).”

“I hope you have other people in your life that are more supportive.”

“And let me tell you this: IT GETS BETTER!!! you’ll grow up, you’ll move out and you’ll do whatever the f**k you want.”

“I know this is hard right now. And it sucks that your family isn’t supportive. As soon as you are old and financially independent enough to move out, things will change.”

“You can choose your own family when you get older. I wish you all the best.”-Zombie-Giraffe

“NTA: Binding is not a permanent body modification, is worn completely under clothes, and will improve your mental health.”

“Please follow safe binding guidelines so as not to cause injury (only wear it for a few hours, never work out in one, etc.) and if your parents do find it, maybe refer to it as a sports bra?”-FallOnTheStars

And while folks are sure OP did what he needed to do, they reminded him to bind safely!

“Hey dude, 22 ftm here. What you are doing isn’t wrong. Your parents may say they are not transphobic but they are.”

“The refusal to use your name and pronouns is awful and I’m sorry. As long as you are binding as safely as you can then that’s all that matters.”

“If possible you might need to hide your binder at your friend’s or something similar. NTA”-sharktoothmegatron

“NTA you did what you needed to do for your mental health. Stay safe and look into resources for lgtbqia+ youth in your area.”

“Hopefully they’ll have a support group or maybe free counseling services. I think meeting with peers who understand your struggles (unsupportive parents) might be really helpful.”

“You NEED and DESERVE support.”-roser1994

“NTA, even if u were feminine that doesn’t make u any less trans, femboys are a thing however binding can be dangerous, just be careful with it.”

“Be yourself if u want masculine things it’s probably best to buy it yourself in case your parents say no or get u a feminine thing instead. Btw Happy Pride Month, you’re valid!”-DodgeGrandCaravan_Me

“I wish there was something I could say to improve this situation. That I could snap my fingers and make everything better for this young man. I can’t.”

“I don’t have the words, knowledge, or experience of others who have posted here so thoughtfully and eloquently.”

“OP know that you are NTA and that your long lost, hitherto unknown uncle from across the pond is in your corner.”-sebbohnivlac

OP is ultimately in charge of his identity.  Not his parents, though they may think they are.

He took charge of his identity in finding a binder.  And regardless if his parents are angry about it, he did the right thing for himself.


Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.