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Catholic College Distributes Free ‘Chest Binders’ to Coeds Who Think They Are Male

NEW DELHI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 27: A boy dances as he and others participate during the 4th Delhi Queer Pride 2011 March on November 27, 2011 in New Delhi, India. India's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community celebrated the 4th Delhi Queer Pride March with a parade through the …
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THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.

A Catholic college in New York is offering free “chest binders” to allow female trans students identifying as males to flatten their breasts, the school’s newspaper announced Monday.

“When someone who was born female later begins to identify as transgender or non-binary their breasts are often something that seems uncontrollable when they attempt to present in a more masculine or agenda [sic] way,” states an article in the Chronicle, the newspaper of the College of Saint Rose in Albany.

“If someone doesn’t bind their chest correctly they can end up harming themselves in process [sic],” said Sam Rariden, a freshman at Saint Rose who identifies as non-binary and one of the first students to receive a binder via their counselor.

According to Rariden, proper chest binders for transgender students is a matter of college safety, since “trans/non-binary youth” will often use things like an ace bandage or several sports bras to make their breasts appear smaller. “This can constrict breathing and become dangerous,” the article states.

“Using the binder helps my battle with gender dysphoria! The first time I did it I remember looking down at my chest and then into the mirror, feeling euphoria at how happy it made me feel. It helps me feel in control of my body,” Rariden said.

The Chronicle article says that a “good quality” chest binder can run $30, a lot of money for a “teen,” so offering them for free is important for students who are “not out” to their parents.

“The chest binder program took a lot of behind the scenes work,” said Polina Lounello, a staff member at the Counseling Center and one of the people involved in the distribution of the binders.

According to the attentive folks at the College Fix, which broke the story, the College of Saint Rose was founded in the early 20th century by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet to educate women, “with a particular focus on professionally training teachers.”

Saint Rose of Lima, for whom the school is named, was a 16th-century nun known for her deep spirit of devotion and life of voluntary penance.

Born to parents of Spanish descent in Lima, Peru, when South America was a missionary territory, Rose entered the Third Order of Saint Dominic and later became the first canonized saint of the New World.

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