Wyatt Riot sat down and talked with Kit Crosland, Program Coordinator of Portland’s brand new binder exchange program, In A Bind .
Wyatt Riot: Hi, Kit! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me about the In a Bind Exchange Program. Can you tell me a little bit about what In A Bind is?
Kit Crosland: In a Bind is a brand new binder exchange program run by TransActive Education & Advocacy. We collect donations of used chest binders from trans guys who no longer need them either because they had top surgery or changed size. Then we send them out to young trans guys or genderqueers who are unable to get new ones on their own.
How exciting! Binders are so expensive. It’s so nice to see a program that will help folks get access to them. Are you accepting donations of new binders, too?
Absolutely! We are not in the business of turning away donations! We actually have had a few new binder donations already either from guys who already got rid of their old binders or allies who never had one to begin with.
Amazing! That’s great. Is this only limited to people in the US?
Right now it’s for people in the United States. [We] do not have the financial resources to ship out of country.
Totally, shipping can be so expensive! Maybe folks outside of the US can take this idea and start it where they live.
I certainly hope so! We are in contact with a similar program in Australia and [we] are certainly willing to pass on what we know to folks in other countries interested in starting their own programs.
Oh? Amazing! That’s great! Do you know the name of the program in Australia?
Yes, it’s called Pay-It-Forward and it’s supported by FTM Australia. They were of great help when we were in the early stages of developing In a Bind.
I love that. It’s all about sharing the knowledge. When did the idea of starting IBEP happen?
One of our volunteers, Kate Levy, is a mother of a trans child and was thinking about other young trans people and the various struggles they face. She came up with the problem of obtaining binders when you’re young, still in school, and may live with unsupportive parents. She approached Jenn Burleton, TransActive Executive Director, about this idea about a year ago.
How did you come on board with the project?
Jenn passed it on to me to head almost immediately. Kate and I worked together closely to develop it.
Love it. On your website it says you need to apply to receive a binder. How does the application process work?
We have an online application as well as a paper application that we are working to get into lgbt youth spaces throughout the country. It asks a minimal amount of questions to make sure you qualify for the program and, of course, gets your mailing information.
Are there any limitations for people to apply? Age, income, etc?
Yes. We talked about the geographical one already.
Right. US only.
In addition, we only serve people 21 and under because TransActive is a youth organization. We also ask that people only apply if they are unable to get a binder on their own. This could be because of financial limitations or because they live with unsupportive parents or the like. We also ask how people identify. We don’t have limitations based on identity, but we want to save our limited resources for people who are using binders to curb body dysphoria or to more easily present as male in daily life. We love gender play for fun and performance, but ask that people not request binders from In a Bind just to do drag.
Can you tell us a little about TransActive?
TransActive serves transgender and gender non-conforming children and youth. We provide counseling, education, support groups for children, teens, and adult family members. We also have advocacy services for families and youth facing roadblocks in schools, the legal system, social services, anywhere we’re needed really! Medical roadblocks are also a big one. In a Bind is a natural addition to the services we’re able to provide.
Yeah, totally! I love that y’all are doing this.
I love that you love it!
Sharing is caring! We’ve gotta help one another — because who else will help us?
Absolutely. One of the big things we’re trying to push with this program is a feeling of helping our own. This is a great way for the adult trans community to help youth. The biggest thing we need right now is donations. The applications are rolling in [to receive binders] and we need donations to help meet the need.
I hope everyone reading this, who are able to help, do so! Check out the In a Bind Exchange Program website for folks wanting to help, apply for binders or learn more about it.