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Those Big, Heavy, Unwanted Boulders: Body Dysphoria in AFAB trans people

Updated on October 12, 2015

Our culture makes breasts out to be this sexy thing, when really, they’re not. They’re there for feeding infants, and while considered secondary sex characteristics, don’t deserve the shame and objectification granted to their owners.

Now imagine them being there when you don’t want them at all. Welcome to the world of body dysphoria as an assigned female at birth (AFAB) transgender person.

This is mostly a problem for trans men, but as an AFAB agender person, it affects me, too. Technically, I fluctuate between feelings of experiencing no gender and slightly female (agenderflux or Librafeminine), but that leaves me having occasional moments where I feel no chest dysphoria. Just tonight, while out, an elbow grazed one ever so slightly, and I could have screamed on the spot. I don’t bind because of neurodiverse touch sensitivity and prefer to simply wear very baggy shirts, but when it’s hot, I have no choice but to wear something more form-fitting.

Being perceived as woman is especially prone to AFAB people who are short and curvy. How can one possibly hide hips that won’t quit and a big rack? It’s nearly impossible, in my experience, and the misgendering is unavoidable. Rather than crawl under my bed in despair, I give my shirt a few tugs on the bottom hem to try and whiffle it out a bit, and keep on going.

It’s not that easy for all of us, though.

For me, it’s all about accessorizing. Make people look at anything but my chest. I love my fedoras (I feel the stigma against them doesn’t touch me because I make them look so cute), jewelry like necklaces and bracelets, make-up, and printed shirts. Let’s face it, if I’m out in my blue makeup, blue hair, and spiked collar, I’m sure people notice more than the way my body looks.

If binding is your thing, I’m here to say that no matter how hard it gets, please do not use ace bandages. Which would you rather have, a flat chest or a bruised rib? Despite Ruby Rose being portrayed as using them, binding with something like that is just asking for trouble and pain.

I don’t want to leave out the fact that binding is also done by cis people, either lesbians who want their gender presentation to be more masculine or cishetero girls who simply don’t like their big chests. That’s fine and dandy, but could you please help us make binders more accessible?

As is, binders are mostly still available online, either for sale or through donation programs. However, it is slowly catching on that trans youth (or all others who bind) need these vitally important clothing items in stores. For now, there are several websites that will offer free binders to those in need, including the Facebook group Binders for Love.

I want to extend my personal positive vibes (or prayer if that’s your thing) to all those like me who deal with body dysphoria related to having visible breasts.

If you’re a man, you’re a man, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

If you’re genderfluid and having a male day, you deserve to have that recognized.

If you’re agender, neutrois, gendervoid, genderpunk, genderqueer, or any other non-binary gender and AFAB, your breasts are as neutral as the rest of you.

Genitals do not equal gender.

Bodies do not equal gender.

Presentation does not determine gender.

Sapphire Crimson Claw affirms and believes in you.

Dysphoria and being trans

Do you believe that a person has to have some form of dysphoria to be "really trans"?

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      Martie van der Voort 19 months ago

      I would love to use your opening graphic (image of ball and chain boobs) in a workshop I am working on around Trans and GNC body dysphoria. Did you draw it, or do you know who did - it's wonderful. I use images a lot in presentations, and I want to give credit.