Question: Trunks

Samson asks…

How do you deal with going to a public swimming pool?

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «

Posted by on January 26th, 2011 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 40 comments »

40 Responses to “Question: Trunks”

  1. Jesse

    Haven’t for a few years since coming out. Swimming binders are too expensive.

    It feels like too big of a deal :(


  2. Anonymous

    I’m a biofemale, so if I’m in a sunny area, i just go with boardshorts (they are relatively unisex, if ya get the right ones) and throw a t-shirt over a good sports bra…(I am super pale and burn easy anyways, so I just claim I don’t want to get sun burned if I need an excuse out of awkward social situations…)


  3. Elias

    I bought the swim suit from underworks. The binder is effective but because it isn’t full length it tends to accentuate the mid-section. There is no binding material in the swim trunks (jammers) but I like them because they make me nostalgic for summer swim league :)


  4. Lanthir Calendae

    Personally, I wear a bitty bikini in as non-femme a colour and pattern as I can find (my current one is sage green!) with boxers over.

    My brother and his ex boyfriend wear swim trunks, binders, and some sort of synthetic shirt thing over, akin to the sort of stuff some little kids wear for warmth/sun protection.


  5. Jessica

    I seldom go to a public pool (don’t like chlorine) but I do go to public swimming lakes. I wear shorts and a t-shirt – which I rapidly wrap in a big beach towel as soon as I get out. If when you get out of the water, you pull the t-shirt away from your chest, under pretense of wringing it out some, you can get your towel wrapped around you really fast and avoid looking like a wet t-shirt contestant.


  6. ElectricHarpsichord

    I’m currently in the process of trying to find a bathing suit for my (trans) girlfriend. The best fit I’ve found for her are suits made for women who have gotten mastectomies. They rise up high in the front so you can’t see cleavage, and they have pockets on the inside that you can put fake breasts in. Pair it with a skirt (to hide a non-tucked bulge) and you’ve got a very good alternative.

    The only problem I have with it right now is that those sorts of suits are EXPENSIVE. =/


  7. Meike

    I bought swim trunks last summer, and I’ve been in the habit of wearing a one-piece underneath. It looks pretty dorky and I admit I try to avoid swimming in public as much as possible. I’ve considered using a sports bra or bikini top and wearing a T-shirt on top of it, so we’ll see how that goes if I try it out.


  8. Lee

    I use board shorts, they are comfy and pretty unisex. I also wear a binder from Underworks (my T-Kingdom ones just don’t look right.) Over that I wear an Under Armour sleeveless tank. The tank has UV protection which is good for my deathly pale complexion. :-) The material doesn’t hold water or stretch out either. It’s black, so the binder doesn’t show through or anything.


  9. M.

    I wear board shorts, a sports bra, and tank top, sometimes two. It wasn’t until this year that I found this so complex, but I’ve started going to the gym, and being in that very in between stage, read as both male and female, depending on the situation, I can say that I’ve found the locker room situation a little frightening.


    Jessica replied:

    At least in a men’s room, the etiquette is to ignore everyone else. This isn’t true in a locker room. And maybe it’s me, but I have noticed many more men being squeamish about exposing their bodies. Such prudish behavior was, as I understand it, considered weak and unmanly a generation ago.

    My partner and I have always wandered about in our own home in all kinds of undress, depending on the situation (i.e. I’m in the shower, I find the shampoo empty, I go get some and don’t cover my body – if there’s somebody there, so what – hopefully they’re not some stranger or burglar). This is the ethos we both picked up in the 1960’s – you know, not being ashamed of the human body.

    Our children have always accepted this, but they never emulated it, not after elementary school. Weird.


  10. Chance

    I don’t swim anymore, and probably won’t til top surgery.

    But apparently you can swim in an underworks binder. I would wear the binder, a semi-big dark tshirt to hide the outlines, and then some board shorts. And for safety, just keep a towel close so that you can come out and wrap it around you.

    I’m having a similar problem right now; I live in a girl’s dorm, and have to walk down the hall to take showers. But since I’m an open transguy, I don’t want to walk to the showers like a girl in a towel, or have to wear all my clothes in. So I wear an undershirt with a towel draped over my shoulders, and some boxers.

    But that’s a curse of transfolk, ordinary situations can make us a hundred times more uncomfortable than cis-gendered people. I try to stay away from these confidence-killers, even if it means sacrificing some of the things I enjoy. At least until I can afford solutions. It’s sucks bro. It sucks.


    Jessica replied:

    I hate being forced into a situation where I feel like am pretending to be someone or something I am not. I am me, damn it, but I don’t fit in that square hole.

    One of my earliest memories, when I was 3, is of standing outside the front door of my house and not being able to make the door work and needing desperately to get to the bathroom a few feet on the other side of the door. More than fifty years later, an ordinary situation, like you describe, can make me feel just like that 3 year old again and it is maddening!


  11. Anonymous

    I wear a women’s one piece. I don’t tuck either. People’s expressions are pricelessss, but it’s what I feel comfortable in!!


    Samson replied:

    Oh, that I had your self-confidence! :)


    Levi replied:

    You are badass—but you probably knew that already. :}


    Poet replied:

    If only I could be so brazen… No, perhaps the better word is “ballsy”


  12. Si

    I wear a rash guard with a binder under it and board shorts, personally, but I know transmasculine people who have dealed with it in different ways. I knew one person who wore mens board shorts over a women’s one piece and one who wore mens board shorts and a bikini top. The only transfeminine person I’ve discussed it with was fully female identified just wore a bikini top and a skirt-type bottom.


  13. Meike

    I’ve been wondering though, wouldn’t wearing a binder while swimming be either dangerous or uncomfortable? I’d be afraid of not being able to breathe. Granted I’ve never worn a binder (yet), but that’s my biggest concern. Otherwise the binder + T-shirt idea sounds good to me.


    Samson replied:

    Same here. I need to swim for exercise, and my heart rate spikes really easily right now, so I’m really leery of adding compression to that mix.

    (Outside the pool, I wear a binder that adjusts with velcro, and I wear it loosely even though it doesn’t make me totally flat-chested, which takes MUCH less of a toll on my ribs and lungs. I have a friend who still has rib pain 3 years post-op, so I’m very careful.)


    Matt replied:

    I’ve worn my binder swimming and not being able to breathe wasn’t a problem at all. It’s not a problem when I wear it normally either…
    Same goes for discomfort…hasn’t been an issue…I’m so used to wearing it that I barely notice. Other people might have different experiences though, I dunno.

    So yeah, T-shirt, binder, and swim trunks is how I do it, and it works out okay.


  14. Samson

    Oh look, it’s Samson asking vague questions again!

    My beachwear of choice is a women’s two-piece for support, with trunks and a rashguard on top. (Everybody Google “rashguard”! They’re great! Mine keeps me warm, not-sunburnt, and relatively flat-chested; they’ll also cover up surgery scars and there must be some way to put breast forms in ’em…)

    But that’s not really indoor-swimming-pool gear, and I am hairy-legged and androgynous-looking no matter what I do. And I HAVE to start going to the pool. (I mused about the pool on my blog already, so if you actually want to read about me, which is not what we’re here for!)

    The tl;dr version: being androgynous in partially-clothed spaces is weird. I look weird as female and I’m not trying to pass as male (or female, really), so I just look… weird and genderfucked to most people. I look just fine to me!

    Thanks for the thoughts. I’m sorry there are no easy answers for any of us.


  15. mc

    Swim wear is actually one of the reasons I haven’t gone to the beach/pool in years. I love swimming, but showing skin frightens me. The last time I went I was much more girly, but even then I wore unisex boardshorts with a sports bra and a dark t-shirt. As someone above said, the pull-and-wring is a great move!
    I think rashguards and longish boy trunks are okay for swimming pools though – you look a bit pretentious, but it’s better than (horrors) a bikini or a one-piece.


  16. kendall

    Thats the one and only thing I feel being a boy [or very very thin] would make me able to do again, I haven’t been swimming in probably 10 years, my grandparents have a farm on a lake, but I always worry if I swim at night alone that I’ll end up dead and half naked and bit by a turtle or something…Its easy to psych yourself out when it’s dark and you’re in a very secluded rural location…I am going to get my chest fixed but I still don’t think I’d be comfortable swimming… which is sad [twice] cause I liked the water so much growing up, I wouldn’t leave the pool I’d be there from opening til closing and mom would call me her daughter the otter… now I don’t swim at all and I miss it, they have ‘all bodies swims’ but I don’t know.


    Jessica replied:

    I feel very sad for the people who feel like they can’t risk swimming. I, too, grew up as an otter.


  17. Noah

    I generally just don’t swim. I’m terrified of open water, so pools would be the way I would go, if I were to go at all. It would be really nice not to have to bind anymore and just be able to go shirtless. But since I’m more in shape now than I ever have been, I’ve been trying to work up the courage to swim in the pool. We’ll see.


  18. Anonymous

    Oh, go take a hike then go swim in a pond with people that you love! Clothing optional.

    One of the carefree pleasure of summer.


  19. Terry

    Since being topless is not illegal here (I believe it is in most parts of the US?) I wear boarder shorts and go topless. I have rather rather small breasts (which I’m extremely grateful for) and even though sometimes I’d like to have no breasts at all I’m generally okay with them.

    I do get the occasional weird look but so have have not encountered any harassment. The “desexualisation of the female breast” is my mission. I hate the fact that women are expected to wear some kind of top garment and men can go topless as they please… and some even have bigger tits than I do!!! :P

    That said, I generally prefer thinly populated lakes and the like to public swimming pools. Nude beaches, in particular, rock :)


  20. Heron

    I didn’t go swimming for a long time until I got a pair of board shorts. Oddly, by that time I went with a bikini top, which is not something I would have worn earlier.

    Find what works for you. For a while I considered buying a surf suit, but the price turned me off.


  21. XylophoneGender

    There’s a fantastic response to this on the GF facebook from someone saying that a local pool in Edinburgh has a monthly trans swimming session. That should totally catch on as a trend. We should make more of these.


  22. Mr. Jessy

    I don’t go. I think pool’s water is bad for skin anyway.
    But I love sea, I swim in shorts and tank top, and don’t care what others think about that.


  23. rogue

    By not going there, sadly.


  24. Anonymous

    I wear board shorts overtop a tankini set. I used to have really long shorts, but the ones I generally wear now are tinsy and I sometimes take them off if I’m craving freedom of movement and I’m comfortable enough.

    Thankfully the pools here have gender-neutral “family” change rooms, with lots of private change rooms inside of those.


    Meike replied:

    You are so lucky, I wish our pools where I live had family changing rooms. That would definitely make life a lot easier.


  25. Nick

    I wear a regular binde runder a tight t-shirt and consult with the staff before hand. Sometimes I tell them the truth, sometimes I tell them I need to wear a vest to support my ribs or something to cover nasty scars on my chest.
    I go to the pool in the clothing I’m going to swim in, with the trunks under my jeans. No changingroom troubles.


    Morgan replied:

    Do you not still have to change when you get out, or do you go home wet?


    Milo replied:

    You just wrap some towels around you and put some down on the seat. It works like a charm, and you don’t have to go in a changing room! I picked that one up at a middle school pool party. Even at 12, I had a problem getting changed with the cisgendered kids.


  26. Anonymous

    I don’t swim because I don’t know how to swim. However I do had few tries wearing diving suit (that’s all I had back in childhood), I know it looked ugly, however just much better, also can put on a t-shirt just fine


  27. Meike

    So I just figured out I might be going on an outing to the beach once the weather gets warmer here in Germany. I would love to try and wear a binder and T-shirt, but I don’t have a binder as of yet. Would a binder with velcro still work all right in the water? I’m trying to decide between a zip-up one and one with velcro, since I’ve heard velcro is better in terms of flexibility and being able to adjust it. ( is where I’m looking, Type 801 looked really good to me). Any advice would be great, and Samson I don’t mean to steal your space for question-asking!


    Elendraug replied:

    Go with the zip-up, for sure. I’ve tried two versions with velcro and can’t stand them. They feel very… starched, I guess? I have three of the 801 and they’re my favorite things ever. The 1700 and 1480 did not work out for me at all. Trust me, go with the 801.


  28. Regen

    My cis-gendered brother will never go swimming without a t-shirt on, even though he is perfectly comfortable with his figure. He just doesn’t feel like it’s right for guys to walk around half-naked. So i would say t-shirt and board shorts/swim trunks is the way to go as a bio female who’s genderqueer- -you can wear a swimsuit underneath, or a binder, or a sports bra, or whatever you feel comfortable with.


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