Trans activists send out free breast binders to 13-year- olds in unmarked packages... so their parents don’t find out
A TRANSGENDER charity is giving girls as young as 13 potentially dangerous breast- flattening devices without telling their parents.
The ultra–tight garments can cause ‘horrendous’ health problems including breathing and breastfeeding difficulties, chronic back pain and broken ribs, increasing the chance of a punctured lung.
They are used by a growing number of girls who believe they are the wrong sex to disguise their breasts and make them look like boys.
Now a Mail on Sunday investigation has exposed how a publicly funded organisation is secretly sending the controversial chest binders to schoolgirls in unmarked packages so that parents are kept in the dark.
An undercover reporter posing as a 13-year-old schoolgirl contacted Manchester based MORF, part of the LBGT Foundation, after an angry mother told us that the group had sent her 14-year-old daughter a chest binder without consulting her.
After two short phone calls to the helpline number on its website, our investigator was told a chest binder would be sent in the post free of charge and with no indication of what the package contained.
Last night Conservative MP David Davies compared the charity’s activities to child abuse, demanded an urgent inquiry and insisted the body’s funding is suspended immediately.
He said: ‘It’s a scandal that we’re allowing a publicly funded organisation to send out breast-binding kits without parental consent or knowledge. I’ll be writing to the Women’s Minister Victoria Atkins to get this organisation investigated immediately, suspend public funding to them and hold an inquiry into how many children have been encouraged without their parent’s permission to wear these chest binders.’
MORF’s website describes it as a support group for ‘trans-masculine’ people – those who were born female but believe they are men. It clearly states that it is a service only for those aged over 18 and advises younger people to contact other groups that deal with children and teenagers.
But when our reporter told a helpline adviser she was just 13 he had no qualms about discussing her chest size and even suggested that while wearing the binder she should avoid too much exertion during PE lessons.
MORF is based at the Manchester headquarters of the e LGBT Foundation which has received close to £1.2 million f r om t he Department of f Health and a £500,000 grant t from The Big Lottery Fund.
The mother whose 14-year--old daughter received the e chest binder from MORF, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I only found out they had sent her the binder because I opened a package that was addressed to her.
‘I hid it so she wouldn’t find it. But she had previously been sent one without me knowing and had already started wearing it. Then I realised that it was because of the binder that she had stopped exercising and was having trouble breathing.’
Campaigners concerned about the increase in girls claiming they are t ransgender say an al arming number are wearing chest binders.
Vulnerable youngsters can get instructions on how to use binders from transgender YouTube stars who make demonstration videos, which are often accompanied by adverts for breast- flattening devices costing as little as £4.
The binders, which often look similar to a vest or crop top, are typically made of nylon and spandex. When worn, the extremely tight-fitting undergarment com- presses the breasts to create the illusion of a flat chest.
But medical experts have highlighted their dangers. One senior doctor warned that they can cause fractured ribs and chronic chest and back pain and may even stop girls from breast feeding in later life due to the damage to breast tissue.
Stephanie Davies- Arai of the campaign group Transgender Trend, which is receiving a rising number of calls from parents worried about their children wearing chest binders, said: ‘ The health effects of wearing binders are horrendous and well-documented.
‘To promote binders and supply them free to children behind their parents’ backs is a gross dereliction of duty towards girls and a cynical exploitation of teenage girls’ vulnerability to latest fads.’
When our reporter posed as a schoolgirl to ask if MORF could send her a chest binder without her mother finding out she was promised complete confidentiality. The helpline operator, who identified himself as Barry, assured her there would be nothing on the package to let her mother know it contained a binder. He said: ‘It won’t have LGBT Foundation on it and it will be quite a small package.’
Barry also questioned our reporter, believing he was speaking to a 13-year-old, on her bra size. ‘Obviously I’m not massively familiar with bra sizes so you might have to help me out here,’ he said.
‘Have you looked at the sizing
around binders on the internet… do you know what size you might be?’
During the reporter’s second call to the helpline, Barry advised her on some of the health risks which chest binders carry, then asked if she was doing PE at school. When she said yes, his advised her to refrain from over-exerting herself. ‘ You’ve got to be careful doing extreme physical activity wearing a binder,’ he said.
Astonishingly, when we confronted MORF about their decision to send a chest binder to a 13-yearold girl behind her parent’s back, they defended their actions. Speaking on MORF’s behalf, the chief executive of the LGBT Foundation, Paul Martin OBE, said: ‘ We’re proud of how we responded to your reporter because we provided sensible, compassionate advice to someone pretending to be in need.’
Controversial transgender charities – including Allsorts Youth Project, Mermaids and Gendered Intelligence – have received more than £1 million in public money in the last five years, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Other activists have been criticised for promoting ‘gender fluidity’ to children as young as two.
START YOUNG: How we reported toddlers being told about trans issues
WIDELYAVAILABLE: One of the chest binders being sold online for as little as £4, pictured to show the fastening that keeps it tight, and, above, a youngster modelling it