It’s been over 4 years since I got my very first binder. I loved that it made me look pretty flat, and start to have the chest look that I was meant to have. I loved how they could come in different colours and sizes and types, and how I could wear shirts without having too much bulge on display.
After the first year though it started to go downhill from there. My injury I had to my spine started to affect me. Before I managed to live with it, but as I was loosing weight, I noticed that the fat that was once padding my back, was no longer there. The binder was actually affecting my fucked up disks in my spine. I had to go back on painkillers again. Not exactly fun times.
Now most people who have met me, also know that I don’t exactly have a small chest. I have massive tits. This has meant that my tits have been actually crushing my chest in the process to have my tits not be on display. It has affected my breathing, I’m asthmatic and it kills first thing in the morning.
I’m not saying this to terrify trans masculine people out of using binders. THEY ARE ESSENTIAL FOR SOME! I’m posting this because I do not blame the binder for these reasons why my body is fucked now. I blame the fact that I was screwed over twice on my funding. I blame the fact I should have had top surgery well before all these medical issues were to happen.
Sometimes yes I wore my binder a few more hours than I should, but I did everything that I was supposed to. I made sure I had rest days, I only wear it when I have to. Unfortunately time was a factor in how my body coped and the amount of time I have had with binders has brought my old injuries back.
I suppose what I’m trying to say to guys out there is to please look after yourselves and to pester your doctors about getting top surgery if you feel like that is the way you would like to go with your transition.
Also shop around for binders. Because whilst some companies might be good for some, they might not be good for you.
Over the past few months I have seen first hand how ableist the world actually is. I’ve written before about how people do not see me as being someone who has disabilities and how much it frustrates me when I ask for additional support but people look at me like I’m lying because I look “far too young” to have anything wrong with me.
I’m not the only person in my life that experiences this. Both my partners have various issues that prohibit them from some day to day tasks, but because neither of them are not visible, they are seen to not exist.
I should start from the beginning. Whilst I look like some scary bright haired goth with an attitude problem, there are many things actually wrong.
I have a spine injury made worse by binding, I have arthritis, my joints lock on bad days, I’m epileptic, I’m on the autistic spectrum, I have tourettes which is just about manageable and my mental health is so bad at times, suicide has felt like the only option. Not including how screwed up my liver is of course. My life involves a juggle of which pain killers I need to take, not stressing myself out and attempting to sleep.
This combined is honestly exhausting at times. I don’t like talking about it often because people just think its bullshit and that someone my age cannot be so ill without being in a wheelchair. I do have a stick that I use on bad days. Which again I get shit for because people do not think I need it.
A couple of weeks ago I got told “how were they supposed to know I was struggling to move because they had seen me walk without my stick” when I asked about how accessible certain venues actually were. During the same conversation, the person went on to imply that people in wheel chairs were the main concern and maybe they should just ask everyone with “special needs” what sort of venue they wanted.
If it wasn’t so fucking sarcastic in tone, I would have honestly coped with it better.
You see, I get abuse all the fucking time. Whether its because I’m a non binary trans person or I’m sitting on the bus with my stick in the priority seating. Because my conditions are not visible, I don’t have them. I once got pushed out the way queuing for a bus, by someone much older than I demanding she must get on before me. I explained that it was rude but she didn’t even care. Because I was a “young person” I can wait.
Me today on a "bad" day
I honestly expect it in public spaces now where people do not know me. Its OK, I don’t expect people to understand hidden illnesses and conditions you can’t see. I however don’t like the fact that I get called selfish, a liar or rude because I cannot physically give up my seat or move quick enough. I’ve had to contact Brighton and Hove bus company because how bad I have been abused on the bus. Even though I have the card explaining to drivers that I need the seat.
What I don’t like, and I really don’t understand is that groups, friends and people I know have been like this. There is an assumption that queers do not need venues that are accessible or that extra help maybe needed when required. I’m horrified that at times I have to constantly repeat myself and say that certain things are not helpful to me. Its then when I’m upset. When I get looked like I’m shit in trans spaces and accused of being passive aggressive because I have asked for help or that I can’t engage in human interaction it suddenly makes me a cunt. Or that me being autistic makes me a trouble maker because I can’t engage in a “normal” way. Yes I get flustered often but if I was listened to rather then ignored, you might understand why.
I feel that constantly I am battling with supposed “queer and/or trans activists” about intersectionality and that people can fit into many different boxes. I also feel that the same community are also the worst to understand this. We should all be working better towards making safer spaces to all queer and trans people. Not just middle aged, middle class, able white queers. ALL QUEERS
I’m trans and I’m disabled, not one or the other. Both. And that’s not going to change because you do not see it.
Saturday I received some abuse from three women who got on the bus, because I was in the priority seating and that it was “Fucking Disgusting” that I was taking up the seating for them.
Do you know what this is? This is a Priority seating required card. This was made by Brighton and Hove bus company because they were horrified about the amount of disabled and physically struggling people that were being abused on busses.
The people who did this were very loud in informing everyone that it was disgusting that young people were taking up the valuable seats. Now I’m going to point out a few things that were wrong. I’m appalled that its come down to this, but I am so upset with the situation.
1) I’m not actually a young person. I’m close to 30 now, but thank you for the compliment. No wonder that young people actually get upset over the older generations though, by the way you treated them.
2) After your comments we did shout how we are entitled to sit in this seat, but your sarcastic smile didn’t help the situation. Instead an apology would have been nice.
3) You were moving far faster than I ever have been able to. Maybe it was a good day for you, I don’t know. But assuming someone’s physical needs based solely on age is pretty pathetic.
4) Finally, as well as needing a priority seat I often do need a care giver with me. Saturday was one of those days. My partner is also a qualified carer and was entitled to sit with me. Also, should mention that he has massive joint problems too and that also entities him to sit in the priority seating, but that’s not the point.
For the benefit of new readers, this is what myself and (one of my) partners looks like.
Now I would like to finally say one thing. I sometimes have to use the bus as transport. I have to use the closest seating (especially recently since I do not have my stick). I have arthritis, a busted spine and I’m also epileptic. This is only a tiny amount of the physical issues that I have, which leaves me in a lot of discomfort through out my day to day activities.
If you are one of those people who “have a go at young people”, I hope that you reevaluate your actions. There are 10000s of people with hidden/not obvious illnesses, and you attacking them is just as bad as you attacking someone with obvious physical issues.
Please share this around to as many places as possible, there are many people affected by actions such as this and are often treated poorly. I know I am not the only person out there who has been shouted at because of assumptions.
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