Black History Month 2019: An Interview with TransTape
TransTape is a gender-affirming body transformation system for transgender, gender-fluid, gender non-conforming and asexual humans. It is backless, strapless, waterproof and sweat-proof. We offer three sizes; small (7.5cm wide), medium (10cm wide) and large (12.5cm wide). We offer three skin tones to best match your skin for optimal discretion; Light Beige, Dark Beige and Brown. TransTape may be worn as a chest binder, packer harness, or gaff. It may be used at the beach, in the pool, or in the shower, and may be safely worn for up to 5 consecutive days.
“How did your company start?”
TransTape started in July of 2017, when [our founder] Kaiyote first discovered he was transgender and purchased a binder to flatten his chest. After putting on the binder, his dysphoria sky-rocketed: the discomfort of being compressed in the New England heat was unbearable, plus wearing a binder made him more aware of his chest and more self-conscious. He knew he needed to find or create an alternative. He remembered going to the chiropractor and having kinetic tape put on his body, which lasted through showering and multiple days of wear. He purchased a roll of kinetic tape and started to experiment. Instantly he knew it would not work for his large breasts, given the very narrow width of the tape. He also did not like how obvious it looked on his skin due to the shiny material used by most kinetic tape brands. He decided to research to find a manufacturer that would be willing to make a tape to our specifications. After searching and searching he found a manufacturer willing to work with our needs. It is very important for us to be an inclusive company and wanted to ensure we would be able to provide service to everyone, regardless of shape, size, or skin tone. We would not stop until we found a company willing to make a brown skin tone for us that wouldn’t charge a ridiculous price. (It was surprisingly harder than expected, as we thought this should be a standard option.)
“What are the benefits of TransTape versus a traditional chest binder?”
In our opinion, the differences between a traditional binder and taping are very drastic.
Binding is uncomfortable and can be damaging for the body. Binding compresses the torso and all the organs hiding inside. Binders have a time limit of 8 hours max of “safe” wear-ability. Although binders can get wet, they should NOT be worn in water, whether you’re swimming, showering, or other activities. Binders cover the entire upper body keeping heat and sweat inside, causing over-heating and exhaustion. Binders are sometimes not discreet as they cover the entire chest, shoulders and back, and can cause obvious lines and marks under clothing.
TransTape is extremely breathable and flexible because it moves freely with the body. It is waterproof and sweat-proof, and is able to be worn safely for up to 5 consecutive days. This means that you may go to bed as yourself in a body you recognize, wake up in that body, and step into the shower with that body, hop out of the shower (with your towel around your waist!) and dress your body in any way you feel you’d like to express yourself. TransTape creates the illusion of a masculine or non-binary chest without the risks and costs of top surgery, and can be worn discretely with all types of garments.
Given the lack of compression and the level of mobility TransTape provides, it is great in the gym as it allows for full range of motion. TransTape does not compress the spine or ribs and allows the muscles to move naturally, resulting in better posture and a more confident presence.
“What are your tips for wearing TransTape safely?”
With each purchase, we provide detailed instructions and illustrations for proper application and removal, as well as many tips and tricks for trouble-shooting or to avoid possible reactions.
- We recommend that you listen to your body. Although TransTape is safe to wear for up to 5 days, it is always best to listen to your body and know when it is time to safely remove your tape. By safe removal, we mean ALWAYS with the aid of oil. Our adhesive is very strong and the bond increases with time and body heat making it almost become a part of your body. It is very important to saturate the tape in oil and allow it to soak through to the adhesive, releasing the bond between the skin. Not doing so could result in removing the top layer of skin, which can cause irritation or blistering. (We provide detailed instructions as well as an oil for removal. Although we have created an oil blend for the best results, it is not imperative to use our oil. We recommend any type of oil except baby oil, as it is petroleum-based and raises the estrogen levels in our body, clogs our skin’s pores, and slows the ability to eliminate toxins.)
- Do not overstretch TransTape: this will cause the tape to retract once applied, which can irritate the skin or cause blistering.
To make TransTape even more comfortable, we have developed a special oil blend to aid in a gentle removal. We also make a healing salve to combat any rash or blistering that may occur with sensitive skin or due to improper application or removal. We use only organic ingredients and Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils: nothing artificial or chemical-based.
“Who are some other trans or LGBTQ entrepreneurs that inspire you?”
There are so many influential people in the LGBTQ community, it would be hard to name them all. We are constantly meeting new people that never cease to amaze us.
We have recently had the pleasure of working with Kristin Porter of Drag Boston in Boston who has been in charge of the majority of all the lesbian events that have taken place in Boston and Massachusetts over the past few decades. We were honored to be a part of bringing the drag king community to Boston along with Jayden Jamison and to expand to the Vermont drag scene with Trey Goodlay as well as the Rhode Island scene with Providence’s Randy Andy.
Of course, there are the influencers in the community that are doing amazing things to provide products, services, or outreach for the community. We love what Grayson Papp is doing with Grayson’s Movement to provide trans-related products as well as hygiene and body care products to people in need. And we admire Aydian Dowling’s untouchable dedication to giving back and being involved in the community: it’s endlessly inspiring. We are in constant awe of his commitment to bringing awareness to the trans community and his willingness to be the voice and face for our cause – it’s also cool he’s New England kid, too!
Written by Point of Pride
Point of Pride provides financial aid and direct support to trans folks in need of health and wellness care.