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11 year old wants to wear a binder

(21 Posts)
Torple Sun 30-Aug-20 04:11:56

My 11yo DD told me yesterday she hates being a girl. She hasn’t gone as far as saying she wants to be a boy because she doesn’t know if she does but I think that’s the next step. That in itself isn’t a problem, I have suspected for a long time, and she told me she has felt this way since she was 7.

My problem is that she absolutely refuses to wear a bra and wants to wear a binder instead. She has done a lot of research which is why I am sure it’s a permanent choice.

But everything I have read and know is that it’s not a good idea to wear them for long periods, especially not when you haven’t finished growing yet.

She starts Yr 7 on Friday. Including the bus, she’s going to be at school from 8.15 to 5.15. All the advice says this is too long to “bind” for.

I even have a trans (F2M) friend who is going to come and have a chat with her and they agree it’s not a good idea.

But she told me she HATES her body and wearing a bra just draws attention to the fact she is a girl.

However, if she goes to school without one, she is big enough that not wearing one will also draw attention, especially when getting changed for PE etc.

I was up till nearly midnight with her last night looking at bras, crop tops, T shirt bras, bra vests, anything that might be a compromise, but nothing was right.

She is really looking forward to school and it’s the school where most of her primary school go so she will have lots of friends. She is saying she wants this to be a new start and she wants her new school to know her as “someone different “. But my worry is that it’s too much to deal with all at once, plus I don’t think it’s safe.
The school has a strict uniform policy and she’s happy to stick to it as long as underneath she can do her thing, she says.
I have already had to talk her out of having her hair shaved down to a grade 1 all over because the school rules are that girls aren’t allowed it that short (unless “unavoidable”).

I feel like I am being asked to make a choice between having her happy or healthy and I don’t know what to do.

For context, she is diagnosed with ASD and anxiety so we have to tread very carefully anyway or she has a meltdown, plus she takes most things very literally.

I suggested we speak to the GP and maybe get her referred to a specialist purely because I need her to be told by a professional what the risks/advantages are to binding, and she agreed but in the meantime I have an 11 year old starting school in five days and I need to persuade her to at least “conform” a little bit until we can start getting our heads round things.

Anyone with any similar experience, or advice, please?

OP’s posts: |
Howallergic Sun 30-Aug-20 04:22:09

I had great issue with my boobs too, so wasn't fond of them. I'd say a sports bra or something. Too young to be thinking of trans etc. IMO. I'd imagine a binder might be uncomfortable, but it would also be noticeable at changing times. Never heard of them to be honest!

MrsToddsShortcut Sun 30-Aug-20 05:03:05

It's so tough growing up nowadays - far harder than when I was young.

I'm autistic and there are a huge number of autistic girls identifying as trans or non- binary at the moment. It's my belief that it's related to a fear of growing up, puberty being incredibly hard for them (there's no bigger transition than seeing your own body change) and a toxic form of womanhood that it completely influenced by porn - no wonder these girls are rejecting it.

Many of them are bi going on social media/YouTube etc and are seeing loads of 'happy' young trans men talking about the sane feelings of isolation and otherness and telling them that transitioning is the answer.

It rarely is and there are ever growing numbers of detransitioners with terribly sad stories to tell - most of them talk about the fact that no-one challenged them about their ideas that they believed they were the opposite sex

Transitioning really should be an absolute last resort. If she goes downs medical pathway, the effects are irreversible and often with very difficult side effects.Testosterone is an immensely powerful drug that will have irreversible effects on her mind and body.

Binding is incredibly dangerous - it causes breathlessness, can damage the skin, can compress the lungs and ribs and can cause cracked ribs.

I really wouldn't go down this path; I think you are right to hold out for a compromise - a sports bra is a good idea.

It can be incredibly hard to work out who you are - it takes years and years. She needs to come to terms with her autism and learn to understand who she is and why she does or thinks the things she does.

It's very normal for ASD girls to be gender non-conforming - it can also be a sensory issue or a theory of mind issue where she sees gendered stereotypes as absolute, and so thinks she must be a boy because the society around her has labelled certain toys, sports, interests etc as 'for boys'.

Why do you think that she might actually be a boy? (Not an attack btw, I'm just trying to understand why you would think that? ) It's far more likely that she is just an autistic gender non confirming girl, who has been influenced by the culture around her, and has grasped at the first explanation that comes along for why she feels different. When actually the thing that makes her feel different and hate puberty so much, is the fact that she is autistic.

I am so sorry - my daughter went through this (also ASD) and it is horrible and desperate- but truly, your daughter can't change sex, or identify out of being female. The best thing you can do is love her, support her and gently try and help her come to terms with herself as she actually is

nachthexe Sun 30-Aug-20 05:06:02

Sports bra. Mini user type. No binders. No deal. They are implicated in lots of issues, are not recommended for long periods or sports.
ASD girls are prime victims of gender ideology because they can’t see past stereotypes. Because they feel awkward and different anyway, they get brainwashed into believing it’s because they aren’t really girls.
I’m a little alarmed that an ASD 11yo has done all her own research into binders, which means she already been brainwashed by all the places on the internet she shouldn’t be allowed to go.
So. Start by helping her research all the young de-transitioners, rape the ones with ASD and other traumas, so she realised this isn’t permanent.
And get her off the internet and into healthier hobbies than gender ideology. Preferably something that allows her to use her body and appreciate it. Rock climbing?

Ghoste Sun 30-Aug-20 05:09:48

Its hard to make judgements about what to wear and how to be at the new school before she's been there. Her opinion is likely to change quickly in the first few weeks. If it was me, I'd say go in looking generic and get a sense of the place first. Once she's sized it up, she can get a better sense of how to be there. Then, if she still wants a binder and short hair, I would support her entirely up to the point of damage to her health. At that point, I just wouldn't budge. That's our job after all. So if its the case that binder all day is bad for her, then no. But a buzz cut, sure.

BovaryX Sun 30-Aug-20 05:10:41

And get her off the internet and into healthier hobbies than gender ideology. Preferably something that allows her to use her body and appreciate it. Rock climbing?

That's a great suggestion. She is 11 years old and a child. What 'research' she has done may well be propaganda from activists who target children. Parents are responsible for preventing their children from engaging in prolonged harm. Get her off the internet.

nachthexe Sun 30-Aug-20 05:10:57

Minimiser. Sorry, autocorrect.
Should have said my dd is also ‘different’ (not NT) and went through this.
She’s 16 now and understands that she’s female and it’s impossible to change sex. She’s now a vocal critic of the powerful forces that create internalized misogyny in girls and young women and is a power advocate for authenticity. Be proud of who you really are, don’t strive for an impossibility, even if randoms on the internet claim it’s real. It isn’t. Don’t insult her intelligence by pandering to her.

BGirlBouillabaisse Sun 30-Aug-20 05:46:51

@MrsToddsShortcut has excellent advice.

DS1 was diagnosed with ASD a few weeks ago and I asked the clinical psychologist about the likelihood of gender dysphoria. He said that it mainly affects girls with ASD, and many detransition in their 20s.

I'm a teacher and can honestly state that I suspect undiagnosed ASD in 100% of the gender dysphoric children I meet.

I don't have any advice apart from to keep lines of communication open and encourage your DD to see that feeling 'different' doesn't mean that you're 'born in the wrong body'.

tara66 Sun 30-Aug-20 06:40:47

I also could only think of a sports bras.

Lockdownseperation Sun 30-Aug-20 08:04:45

Ask on the feminism board too. This is a common theme with girls with ASD which can lead them down a destructive worm hole.

madderose Sun 30-Aug-20 10:04:56

I wouldn't allow the binder under any circumstances. Read the book Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier. Binders can be a slippery slip to all kinds of horrific interventions like puberty blockers, cross sex hormones and even surgical intervention. Referrals to gender identity clinics result in "affirmative" approaches which encourage girls down this path.

Seriously limit time online and don't allow her on social media. Encouraging outdoor hobbies is a good idea.

ZooKeeper19 Sun 30-Aug-20 22:42:06

Another ASD here. I also hated being a girl, don't wear a traditional bra to this day (mid 30s and don't own a single one) and same for all other "girl" things. I went down the sports bra but has to have no binding. Like a cut crop top but tight. No binding and no wires, that's essential.

It was horrible when I was a teen. I was bullied for being what I was so I feel for both you and your DD. Definitely use logic, reasoning and research results, studies... and all the things that @MrsToddsShortcut said, that is absolutely perfect advice.

I would let her try the binder though. Is it likely to cause damage if she tries for a week or two? If not, I think I'd let her try and evaluate how she felt. I would then ask her to also give 2 weeks to a selected sports bra and have her evaluate the results after the month. See how she feels.

Storm808 Wed 17-Feb-21 17:28:32

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

TartanGoose Wed 17-Feb-21 17:34:02

Well, she won't be alone that's one thing. My dd is 14 and nearly every girl in her year is trans, or bisexual or non binary or pan sexual.

Storm808 Wed 17-Feb-21 17:40:17

@TartanGoose That might be because they are finding out about all these different sexualities and figuring out that's their sexuality. They might have learned about a whole bunch of other sexualities and then they realize that their that sexuality. I knew I wasn't a girl since I was in pre school. I knew I wasn't straight since before pre school. This doesn't mean we get to invalidate everyone.

Storm808 Wed 17-Feb-21 17:47:47

@TartanGoose That will be good too because he will feel more valid and know it isn't bad to be trans. And if you read the message I replied to it said they've know since he was 7. ALSO let's use he/they pronouns, he's known since he was seven so I'm going to validate them.

CloseEncountersOfTheTurdKind Wed 17-Feb-21 17:53:45

Have a look at oddballs bralettes- they are like crop tops but lots of patterns including rugby clubs so not 'girly'

sleepyhead Wed 17-Feb-21 17:57:12

Storm808 did you not bother to read the op's first post?

"My 11yo DD told me yesterday she hates being a girl. She hasn’t gone as far as saying she wants to be a boy because she doesn’t know if she does"

Don't misgender please.

Thislittlefinger123 Wed 17-Feb-21 18:00:34

ZOMBIE THREAD (which has been hijacked). I don't believe for one minute a GP recommended binding, yeah, sure they did hmm

OP I hope your daughter got the help she needed flowers

museumum Wed 17-Feb-21 18:02:44

I’m not very fond of my boobs either. In a level 4 running bra I feel free because there’s absolutely no jiggle at all.
Or you can get minimising bras.
I would suggest you buy one of each and then she wears a vest on top to “hide” it.
This way she should be physically comfortable. It’s worth you or your trans friend pointing out that binders are very very uncomfortable and will result in her being aware of and thinking about her chest all day. A comfy healthy running bra will control/flatten her chest in a way that lets her forget about it entirely.

Notpot Wed 17-Feb-21 18:46:48

What others have said. Get her off the internet.

Her reaction to developing breasts, not wanting to wear a bra is really not uncommon in most girls. This normal phase of adjusting to developing bodies is being distorted and preyed upon by some. Also many girls fear being seen as girls by their male counterparts as they’re aware they are looked as inferior and as prey. It’s a scary time for young girls. Much easier to not be seen as a girl or even to not be a girl.

Get her off the internet and look up Transgender Trend for further advice.

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