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When it comes to gender, and the ways you express your gender, there are absolutely no rules that you HAVE to abide by. Truly – is there really such a thing as ‘boy things’ and ‘girl things’?

Playing with the way you look is one of many, many, MANY ways you can explore your gender. Here are some things other trans and gender diverse people use to explore their identity.

Makeup

For many trans people, wearing makeup can be like wearing a second skin. It's a great way to better express yourself. Concealer and foundation can be used together to help make stubble or light facial hair less obvious. Foundation is often used to even out the skin tone, while concealer is used to hide any blemishes on the face.

Highlighting and contouring can be used to create or take away shadows from areas in your face, providing you with a look of a softer, more petite face, or a more rugged, rougher face depending on your preferred look. Youtube is a great place for detailed tutorials. Seriously. There's a Youtube tutorial for EVERYTHING.

Play around and roll with what you think works. Makeup is a tool for you to have fun with.

Bras and inserts

Chest dysphoria is pretty common for trans young people, but there are ways to overcome it!

For flat chested people you have bras and padding. Talking about bras can be a new, awkward and sometimes funny experience. It can also be hugely rewarding and feel amazing to rock boobs for the first time.

You can either buy padding like silicone ‘chicken fillets’, or get bras with padding built in. Just double check that your inserts don’t irritate your skin as some materials can cause minor allergic reactions. Ensure you wash your inserts with slightly warm soapy water from time to time as well to keep them in good condition, clean and help them last.

Binding

Binding can temporarily and non-surgically reduce the size of your chest. A binder is used to compress your chest to make it appear flat/smaller. There are many ways to bind, but it’s important to do it right.

Binding improperly can cause injury as you’re putting a large amount of pressure on your chest and ribs. If you notice any pain in your chest, give yourself a breather and try to restrict yourself to no more than eight hours of binding at a time. Online stores are a great way to look at and order binders.

If you can’t get a professional binder you still have other options. Sports compression wear, neoprene back braces, and even layering sports bras can all work as budget binders. Just remember to be careful, and if you feel strong discomfort you should stop, take a break, and try something different.

We have a whole guide on how to bind safely. Give it a read before you try it.

Tucking

Tucking is used to create a flat front in the pants, and reduce the visibility of a penis. It’s often done when wearing tight skirts and/or dresses, or just for personal comfort. Just like binding, it’s important to take care. Tucking can cause injury if done improperly. Don’t tuck for more than four to six hours at a time – taking a break is a must.

Tucking sometimes involves a technique of placing the testicles back inside the pockets inside your abdomen that lie on either side of the penis. If it feels too weird, a tuck can still work without it. The next step is to pull the penis backwards, in-between your legs. Secure everything and make sure it stays in place. Wearing a pair of slightly-too-tight underwear and a pair of tights can be a way of securing your tuck.

Packing

A packer can be a big help for bottom dysphoria. A packer is pretty much a penis shaped object to pack downstairs. Put it down your pants, and hey presto!

You may need a harness to make sure it stays in place, but tight underwear will generally do the job. A good tip starting out is don’t buy too big, make sure it’s secure and you’re good to go.

All in all it’s important to remember that these are just tips! You can use all of them, none of them, or some of them! What matters is that you do what feels right for you.

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