About the Program

OUT Maine provides free chest binders (specially-designed chest compression garments) to any transgender, nonbinary, gender-expansive, or any other LGBTQ+ youth, ages 14 to 22, who needs one and cannot afford to purchase or safely obtain one. The person receiving the binder must be a Maine resident. This includes Maine youth that are attending school out of state or are temporarily living out of the state. Please only apply if you, or the person you are applying for, are truly in need of support.

Here are a few places you can purchase a binder if you are able to purchase and safely obtain one. We are simply providing links to some places where you can purchase a binder. OUT Maine does not endorse or recommend any specific company.

https://www.gc2b.co/

https://www.underworks.com/

http://mydoubledesign.com

http://www.t-kingdom.com/

Apply for a Binder

For those who want to apply here is what you need to know.

How does the program work?

The program operates on a first-come, first-served basis. After you have carefully read this page and measured yourself, you may apply by filling out our online application. Once submitted, you’ll automatically be added to our list.

Requirements:

  • You, or the person receiving the binder, identifies as transgender, gender-expansive, non-binary, or any other non-cis identity under the trans umbrella. 
  • You/they live in the state of Maine, or are a legal Maine resident living temporarily out-of-state.
  • You/they are between the ages of 14 and 22.
  • You/they cannot afford to purchase a binder.
  • And/or the binder cannot be attained safely.
How to apply for a binder

Please read this page and the FAQ section carefully before filling out the application form.

  • Before you request a binder, you’ll need to know your size! See the Measuring and Sizing Guide below on how to properly measure for the correct size.
  • Complete the application form. Once you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email and be added to the list.
  • We will send out a binder as quickly as we can.  We appreciate your patience.
  • When we are ready to ship your binder, we will reach out via email to confirm how your name should appear on the mailing label, your mailing address, and double-check your size. You may update your mailing info and binder size at that time, too.  If there are any additional requests concerning the safety of your package, such as removing all OUT Maine branding or mailing to an alternate address, please be sure to add these into the comments.  Safety is our biggest concern.
  • IMPORTANT:  We can’t ship your binder if you don’t reply to confirm the information.  If we don’t hear from you within two weeks of sending the confirmation email, we will move you to the bottom of the list and work to fill the next request.
  • You will receive an email from USPS when your binder ships that will include your tracking number. Tracking numbers can take up to 24 hours to fully activate and the USPS site may list the package as “pre-shipment” until it activates. 
Measuring and Sizing Guide (Read this before measuring!)

Step 1: Prepare

  • Get a flexible measuring tape- if you don’t have one, CLICK HERE to download a printable ruler and measure w string
  • Do not wear a bra or any other compression products

Step 2: Take your measurements

TIP: Each chest measurement should be taken all the way around your torso. The measuring tape should not compress your chest tissue but should touch your body. If the measuring tape is not touching your body – it’s too loose.

(1) Underarm measurement: Take this measurement just above where your breast tissue begins. The measuring tape should lay just below your armpits and at the beginning of your breast tissue.

(2) The largest part of the chest: Take this measurement around the torso and chest where the most breast tissue is (usually around the nipples, but this will vary person to person).

(3) Underbust measurement: Take this measurement directly under your chest tissue, where you would measure your band size for a bra.

Shoulder width: Place the measuring tape at the point of one of your shoulders. Then stretch the tape to the point of your other shoulder. Don’t wrap the measuring tape all the way around your shoulders for this measurement–just point-to-point.

Step 3: Find Your Size

Compare your largest chest measurement and your shoulder measurement to the sizing chart. If your chest and shoulder measurements do not align with the same size, choose the larger size.

You’re now ready to apply for your binder!

Click below to start the process.

FAQs

What is a Chest Binder?

Chest binders are specially-designed compression garments that help flatten the chest for a more masculine appearance, which helps many transgender youth and adults live their lives more authentically or feel more comfortable in their bodies, and navigate public spaces more safely. 

Is my information confidential?

We will not release the names of any individuals applying to this program for any reason. We very much value your privacy.

What kind of binder will I receive?

We guarantee you’ll receive a binder in the size you request, but we can’t guarantee the style, color, or manufacturer of the binder. Some may be gently used donated binders and others may be new.  What we can ship will depend on what we have available in your size.

How do I know what size I need?

Before you make your request, you need to measure yourself using the guide above. Please keep in mind that these garments are sized and graded for compression purposes, so they are designed to fit snugly in order to compress and flatten. Do not intentionally go down in size; you will not be able to put your binder on.

How soon will I receive my binder?

We will try to fill requests as soon as we can, but it may depend on the number of requests and what we have available for binders.  You will receive a confirmation of your request via email when you make the request.  We will also reach out to you via email before we ship to confirm your information and let you know to watch for the package.  You will need to respond to us when we reach out to confirm before we can ship your binder. 

What information will be confirmed before shipment?

When we are ready to ship your binder, we will reach out via email to confirm how your name should appear on the mailing label, your mailing address, and double-check your size. You may update your mailing info and binder size at that time, too.  

IMPORTANT:  We can’t ship if you don’t confirm the information.  If we don’t hear from you within two weeks of sending the confirmation email, we will move you to the bottom of the list and work to fill the next request.

Where can I have my binder shipped?

We want to ship your binder to an address where you can safely receive it.  When you fill out the application, provide the address where you want us to ship the binder and also provide your email address so we can communicate with you to confirm shipment. 

We can ship a binder to any valid address.  This can be your mailing address, a friend’s, a relative’s, or a PO Box.

How do I update my contact information?

If your mailing address or email has changed, please send an email to binders@outmaine.org with the following information:

  • Name on the original request.
  • Email on the original request.
  • New email.
  • New address.
  • Anything else you would like us to know.
How do I cancel my request if I no longer need a binder?

To cancel a request, please send an email to binders@outmaine.org with the following information:

  • Name
  • Email (email used when requesting a binder)
  • Reason for cancellation
  • Anything else you would like us to know
I currently have a binder that no longer fits. Can I exchange it for another size?

Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to exchange your binder for a different-sized one. If you’d like to donate your new or gently-used binder that doesn’t fit properly, we’ll gladly accept it and mail it out to the next person on our waiting list. However, in order to receive a binder in the size you need, you would have to fill out the binder request form. You will be added to the end of our waiting list.

How do I donate a binder to the program?

Thank you for your generosity! We accept new and gently used clean binders. All sizes, styles, and colors. More information on how to donate can be found here.

I have a medical condition. Is it safe for me to wear a binder?

We are not, nor do we claim to be, healthcare providers or medical experts in any capacity. We simply do not have the resources to provide any recommendations whatsoever for individuals with pre-existing conditions or specific unique situations, as that would be outside the scope of our ability to support.

As much as we empathize with the challenges faced by many people in our community, we encourage anyone with medical conditions to work with your healthcare provider to determine if a binder is an option for you.

Are there any studies that talk about the impact of chest binding for Transgender youth and young adults?

Yes. This study examined chest binding among trans-masculine and other gender diverse individuals and demonstrates the importance of this practice for improving life satisfaction and perceived safety, despite physical health sequelae resulting from binding. This study also reveals a paucity of resources available to adolescents and young adults regarding safe binding practices. The full study is available here.

How do I care for my binder?

It is important to wash your binders regularly, especially in the warmer months, to get rid of all the sweat, germs, and oil that can transfer from your skin. This will also reduce the risk of rashes and itchiness.

Most binders are made of elastic materials that can easily wear down if washed in hot water and put in the drier.

Most binders will come with washing instructions but in general here is how to wash a binder.

You can either wash your binder on a delicate or gentle cycle, in cold or warm water with materials of similar weight. If your binder has clasps, close the clasps to prevent them from catching on to other things. You can also handwash your binder in the sink with a little detergent and warm water. Rinse it thoroughly to make sure you get out all the soap, and then hang it to dry.

Hanging your binder is generally better than putting it in a drawer because it helps maintain its shape.

What other things I should know about binding?
  • It is not recommended to wear a binder during exercise, a sports bra will provide easier breathing, help prevent lightheadedness and overheating.
  • It is not recommended to wear a binder at night. You really should give your body a break and not wear one for more than about 10 hours a day. 
  • Long-term binding can cause damage to your skin, breast tissue, and ribs. So give your body a rest once in a while.
  • It’s super important for a binder to fit correctly to prevent damage to your body.
Ways NOT to bind:
  • Duct tape/ packing tape/ any kind of tape
  • Ace bandages 

It’s important to stay away from these practices because they can cause issues including scarring, fluid build-up in the lungs or even broken ribs. It can also hurt your ability to move properly.  Ace bandages actually get tighter every time they stretch (i.e. when you breathe) and breathing is important. Ace bandages can also easily come loose and have to be redone, and don’t hide very well under thin clothes.

What if I have another question?

If you have a question that is not answered in the FAQ’s please email binders@outmaine.org.

Donate a Binder

Thank you for your generosity — we could not offer this program without your donations!

We accept new and gently used clean binders. All sizes, styles, and colors. Please include the Binder Donation Form or note on each binder that you donate with the manufacturer’s name and size if known. This helps us sort donations and get them to folks on our waiting list more quickly.

To donate, download the Binder Donation form and mail with your donated binders to OUT Maine, PO Box 1723, Rockland, ME 04841.

Please email us at binders@outmaine.org if you have any questions.

If you would like to donate money specifically to this program, please use the button below to donate to the Binder Fund. Thank you for supporting OUT Maine’s Binder Program!