Shop fined for selling a chest binder to transgender boy

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

A shop in Canada has been hit with a fine for selling a chest binder to a trans boy – despite them being completely legal for under-18s.

Elastic chest binders are often used by trans boys and men to flatten the appearance of breasts, if they have not undergone surgery to remove them.

However, a sex shop in Ottawa has this month been hit with a fine, after selling one to a teenage trans boy.

There are no age restrictions on binders whatsoever in Canada – but Ottawa store Venus Envy was fined $260 fine for selling the $40 item.

The shop was charged under a by-law that prohibits shops that are licensed to sell adult products from selling to under-18s, despite the fact that the boy only bought unrestricted items.

Shop owner Shelley Taylor told the Ottawa Citizen: “Do you need to have fake ID to buy something that confirms your gender? That’s good for your emotional and mental health?”

She added that although binders are available freely online, a lot of young trans people who do not have their own credit cards rely on the store – not just for binders but also other transition-related items, such as breast inserts.

She said: “We serve so many youth — mostly with their parents.

“They come from all over because we’re a trans-affirming kind of place.

“For us, it’s an emotional thing when we see a queer or trans kid with their parents, because they have the support that most kids don’t.”

However, she is considering work-arounds to the situation – such as setting up a non-licensed ‘pop up’ store elsewhere that still allows teens to purchase binders.

Rights campaigner Carling Miller, the executive director at Kind, told the newspaper: “It’s life-affirming. It literally saves their lives to be able to present in a way that is representative of who they are. This situation makes it harder for young people to get these kinds of resources.”