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BWW Blog: Binder Drive International - Spreading Gender Euphoria

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BWW Blog: Binder Drive International - Spreading Gender Euphoria
Art by Shannon Fahey

During quarantine, many people have felt the desire to help others in these difficult times. I wanted to use this platform to highlight someone spreading love to others throughout the past few months, and no one is a better example of that than Sav Souza (they/them), who graduated from my college in 2018. Sav has started a binder drive for black trans and gender non-conforming people and is using their platform to make a difference in the black trans community.

For those who don't know, a binder is a safe binding option for trans individuals. Binders are well constructed and have a canvas material in the front that flattens the chest. Many folks experience gender euphoria when finally receiving their first binder and it's a life changing experience for many. I had the exciting opportunity to talk with Sav about what inspired them to begin the binder drive.

Sav was a senior when I started my freshman year at the University of the Arts and was always a beacon of kindness and enthusiasm to those around them. At the beginning of our interview, they shared that they came out as non-binary in their junior year of college. Sav was able to raise money to get top surgery with the help of a gofundme and by putting on a cabaret called "Bye Bye Boobies" in Philadelphia, directed by John Jarboe and music directed by Pax Ressler. Sav was able to get top surgery last fall.

They moved to New York and, while packing, found some of their old binders. They were still in good shape, so Sav decided to give them away to someone who might need them. They posted on instagram to find new homes for their binders. All of their old binders found new homes, but there were a couple people who inquired that Sav didn't have sizes for. Soon after, a friend reached out and offered to buy a binder for someone who Sav didn't have sizes for. They connected their friend with someone and then, in their own words, wondered, "What if other people might be wanting to do this? What if other people might be down to drop the $38 to buy a new binder for someone?" Sav shared how receiving a binder can literally be a life changing moment, and they wanted to provide that to other trans people who need it.

BWW Blog: Binder Drive International - Spreading Gender Euphoria
Graphic by Brielle Gall

Sav posted about this on social media and overnight received a lot of positive reception, and thus the binder drive was born! Throughout the drive, Sav has raised of $93,000, which has provided over 2,500 binders to black trans and gender non-conforming people! I asked Sav if they'd had any memorable interactions with someone who's received a binder, and this is what they said:

"Early on, someone sent me a really tender and sweet video of them wearing their binder for the first time. They were in tears, and you could see it peeking out the top of their button-down. They said, "Hey, I don't realy do this kind of thing... but I just didn't feel like I could type out how I was truly feeling so I just made this video." They had been feeling a lot of chest dysphoria, and were sharing their realization that a binder was a simple solution to

some of the dysphoria they were experiencing. They didn't realize how much relief a binder could offer!

Then, another video came in that was a short, sweet little clip of them in their binder kind of posing, looking cute. They said, 'Gender euphoria? She looks good! She looks good on me!' and the joy was just radiating off of them."

So you may be wondering how YOU can help Sav with the binder drive. You can donate through Venmo: @SavSouza23 or via PayPal at paypal.me/thebinderdrive. Any donation amount is welcome. As Sav said when I chatted with them, "No donation amount is too small. We've literally had 50 cents sent we've had $500 sent." If anyone is looking to contribute to the binder drive in other ways, Sav mentioned that they've done partnerships with visual artists and performing artists. If this is something that would interest you, or if you are contributing a larger monetary donation, reach out to Sav via email at binderdrive@gmail.com. Before ending my interview with Sav, they shared what the envisioned future of the binder drive is:

"Right now, we are hoping to hit our $100,000 fundraising goal in the next week. We are launching a new website and an instagram account, and doing some intentional outreach to start providing a resource to existing organizations that have already been serving the trans community!"

To stay up to date on binder drive, follow @saaaavv or @binderdrive on instagram. To claim a binder, visit www.binderdrive.com.


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