Trans Swimwear, Part Two: Trans Men
Welcome to spring! As part of an ongoing quest to find great lingerie for trans and genderqueer people, I’m tackling swimwear. This week is part two: swimsuits for trans men and other transmasculine people. Read part one, swimsuits for trans women and transfeminine people, here.
Swimwear is like lingerie except that, for reasons obvious to no one, we are all supposed to be cool with being this naked at the beach in front of strangers. Trans men and transmasculine people can especially struggle with swimwear since traditional male-oriented swimsuits are topless, and if you haven’t had top surgery, this can be… vexing. There’s also concerns about packing, and whether or not you want to do that in a swimsuit. Luckily there’s a range of options for trans men and other transmasculine folks. Hopefully, you’ll see something you like.
There are a few different binding swim tops on the market. Unfortunately, a lot of them suffer from the same problem as binders in general: plain designs and conventional styling. But they get the job done, and I’ve also found one or two that exceed expectations. Note: please be very careful when binding while swimming. You’re compressing your chest, so if you’re having any trouble breathing, please take a break or take your binder off for a bit. If you don’t want to fully bind while swimming, or you want more coverage, try a rash guard (those surfer shirts). You can find them here.
Underworks, an old standby in binder world, makes a binding swim top that looks a little bit like a rash guard or part of a wetsuit. Its a very basic design, but if what you’re looking for is coverage, it’s a good bet.
Over at Danae, where the swimsuits for trans women are not my favorite, there is a great-looking swim ensemble for trans men. The Trans-Vormer top is a binding swim top that is cut like a muscle shirt, which makes it look like something you’d want to wear to the beach anyway. It comes in three neutral colors: black, navy, and grey.
Outplay (not to be confused with PlayOut) makes a few flattening swim tops that seem geared toward masculine-of-center folks, and which may work for trans men as well. Their styling is more androgynous and less overtly masculine, but their products are still for compressing and “flattening” chests. They have a full-coverage and chest-only version of their binding swim top.
Finally: this merman binder, by Etsy seller Minasmis, is made of Spandex and could work or swimming. I have a hard time imagining something I’d want to swim in more. If you like the idea but aren’t sold on the scale motif, it also comes in purple and gold leopard print.
Swim trunks for men are available everywhere, and if you’re not concerned with packing, you can buy any pair you like. If you’re looking for something that you can put a packer in, you’ll proably want some trans-specific trunks — although there are a few other options. You can certainly always use a packing jockstrap in combination with any other kind of swim trunks. You can get packers and straps here (warning: link is not safe for work.)
For trans-specific trunks, I really like the Trans-Vormer shorts that Danae sells. It’s a short European cut of swim trunks designed to hold a packer. Ignore the language on the page, which includes some “male bodied/female bodied” wording, as well as the supremely unsexy phrase “a closable compartment for a prosthetic penis.” The page is translated from Dutch; I think something got lost along the way.
Underworks also makes swim trunks to go with their swim top. They are described as “compression” shorts, and may or may not have room for a packer: their ad copy includes the ambiguous phrase “an inner pouch for comfort,” which may or may not be the same thing.
I talked about this in Part One as well: it’s good to have an extra thing with you at the beach always, in case you’re feeling insecure or getting sunburned. For men and masculine people, a t-shirt or a button-down is a good thing to just have around. That way if you need to unbind for a bit to catch your breath, you have something you can go change into. Be safe out there. There’s no reason to risk your health, guys.
How do you do swimsuit season while trans? Are you planning on trying any of these options? Let us know in the comments!