BBC criticised over breast-binding of trans patient Sunday Times 01.03.20

The original article is here.

The BBC has brought the practice of breast binding to the screen by showing a doctor explaining to a young transgender patient how to give the appearance of having a flat chest without undue pain.

Frankie, the patient, has worn a binder for more than four years. His back is hunched and his ribs pop out of place as he walks.

In one scene, Frankie, who has 36D breasts, tells the doctor: “I can’t walk a lot. It compresses my chest so much I can’t breathe properly and I can’t really leave the house without it.”

The programme, The Unshockable Dr Ronx on BBC3, is intended for a young audience. Dr Ronx Ikharia, who describes herself as a “queer, black, androgynous intersectional feminist”, establishes that Frankie is wearing binders two sizes too small and should swap them.

Campaigners are concerned about the record number of children seeking to change their gender because they feel they were born in the wrong body, and they have criticised the BBC for failing to provide advice about alternatives to breast binding.

Stephanie Davies-Arai, founder of Transgender Trend, said: “This is a practice which should not be promoted to teenage girls. This is often a body hatred issue, and the BBC is proposing a solution which harms the body.” She said such programmes should carry a disclaimer.

The BBC said Frankie had made clear his gender dysphoria was causing depression and anxiety and that wearing a binder could improve his mental health and allow him to express his identity without damaging his health. “Dr Ronx’s proper role is therefore to respect that choice, while offering medical advice on how to do it in the right way.”

@NicholasHellen