Binder Exchange: Frequently Asked Questions
Who can apply to the program?
There are only four main criteria to qualify for our program:
1. You were assigned female at birth.
2. You experience gender dysphoria related to your chest.
3. You do not have the financial means to buy a binder one.
4. You live in the United States.
No other factors influence whether you can apply, including age, gender identity, or already owning a binder. However, those that do not currently own more than 1 binder will be prioritized.
Do I pay any costs to get a binder?
Once approved, applicants do not pay anything for their binder. In the rare circumstances when you receive a binder that does not fit appropriately, we asked you to ship the binder back to us and we will reimburse the cost (it costs less than $5). This is why sizing yourself correctly in the application is crucial.
Where do the binders come from?
Most of our binders are donated from the local DC community. Some are new, while others have been worn. We do not send out stained or damaged binders. A subset of our binders are donated by gc2b- a trans owned binder company based out of Maryland that provides some of the best binders made in the United States.
Do you ship the binders?
Unless you live within Washington, DC, we will ship your binder to you. If you live in DC, we asked that you arrange a pickup.
What information do I need to include in my application?
In the application, we ask basic information that helps us verify your eligibility and so that we can contact you. We also ask important questions about binding safely and ask for specific measurements to ensure we send a correctly sized binder. Specific instructions and a video are included in the application to assist with obtaining these measurements.
Do I get to choose what kind of binder I get?
The application asks for preferences of style (short, long, etc.), which we try to fulfill if inventory allows. You do not get to select your preference of color.
How long will it take to get my binder?
After your application is approved and shipped, it should take no more than 4 business days. All shipments leave from Washington, DC. You can expedite the approval process by making sure your application is filled out completely and your measurements are done accurately. Any information that seems incorrect will delay the process since one of our staff will have to follow up with you before we can approve your application. When shipped, you will see your tracking number on your application when you login and click, "Check Status."
Is shipping discreet?
Yes. The outside package will contain your address, the name you choose to be put on the label, and our return address.
Can I choose the day/time my binder will arrive?
We ship first class USPS and cannot guarantee the time/day of arrival. Please pay attention when mail normally comes to your house to get an idea when mail will arrive. You can also sign up for "Informed Delivery" from the USPS website under the name on the package before we ship your binder. Using this website, you should be able to leave instructions to the mail carrier for delivery.
What if I live outside the United States?
Please contact us at email@example.com and we will attempt to find a program or other options near you.
I have binders to donate. Where can I ship them/drop them off?
You can drop off your binder at any of our partner locations or you can bring binder donations to any DCATS' events.
Why does a DC-based organization have a national binder exchange?
Initially, our binder exchange was local- only, but as demand grew, we found that we could not ignore the requests from, most often, youth with unsupportive families and without access to a community, resources, and safe binding methods.
How much does it cost to run the binder exchange program?
Our program is run by volunteers, but it costs $5 per binder to ship each one, plus supplies.