After launching controversial schemes that allowed customers to pick up ‘chest binder’ at the store, Lush high street retailer has been accused by young women of inciting them to “mutilate” their bodies. 

In exchange for a £7 donation to a trans outreach organisation, shoppers can order a chest binder online then collect the item at the Lush branch in Paddington, central London. 

Transgender people can use a chest or breast binder, which is essentially a tight tank or sports bra that compresses breast tissue to give the appearance of flat breasts. 

G(end)er Swap in the UK is responsible for the operation of this scheme. This charity helps people who are trans or ‘gender not-conforming’ to get clothes. 

Customers have reacted negatively to the idea, expressing concern about breast binding’s health effects and asking if children will be permitted to receive a breast binder without their parents consent. 

One commented: “This is horrendous marketing that this young girl to mutilate her bodies with. Their healthy bodies are fine. 

Online orders do not include age verification. The age of the customer is not verified at collection.

High street retailer Lush has come under fire over a controversial scheme allowing customers to collect 'breast binders' in store. Pictured, the Instagram post announcing the scheme

Lush, a high-street retailer has been under attack for a controversial program that allowed customers to pick up ‘breast binder’ at the store. This is the Instagram posting that announced the scheme.

In exchange for a £7 charity donation, shoppers can order a breast binder online then collect the item at the Lush branch in Paddington, central London, pictured in file image

In exchange for a £7 charity donation, shoppers can order a breast binder online then collect the item at the Lush branch in Paddington, central London, pictured in file image

MailOnline reached out to Lush and G(end]er Swap in order for comments.

A customer responded to the Instagram announcement by writing: ‘Is Lush in self harm business now? This is how profitable? Is this in line with your corporate image, along with any safeguarding concerns? 

One wrote, “Binders may be hazardous and dangerous.” This is completely inappropriate.

Another added, “This encourages self-harm among confused young girls.” This needs to be stopped immediately. 

Other people threatened to boycott the shop, one of them writing “This is shameful.” You are encouraging self-harm towards young healthy bodies and I will not buy from you again. Shame upon you! 

However some shoppers praised Lush for the collaboration, noting it is important to make breast binders available at an affordable price available to people with body dysmorphia. 

One comment: “This is an amazing service!” Let’s hope more shops can support the LGBTQ+ community.

The second was added: “Thanks to you for offering a cost-effective way to obtain binders, which could be of great help to anyone who is really suffering from gender dysphoria.” 

Responding to the criticism, another posted: ‘Literally what are y’all so mad about? The service isn’t for you, it’s only for people who need it. No one’s telling you to get a binder CHILL and let people live how they wanna live it’s really that simple.’   

Controversial: Customers warned of the health risks associated with breast binding, and questioned whether children would be allow to collect a breast binder without parental consent. Others praised the scheme for making binders accessible

Controversial. Some customers were concerned about breast binding’s health effects and wondered if children could be allowed to take home a breast binder. Some praised the system for making bindings accessible.

Breast binding is associated with potential health hazards.

A 2008 NHS England publication noted breast binders should only be used for short periods of time because they ‘may cause back problems’ and can distort breast tissue, This can affect future surgeries to remove breasts. 

It was also stated that binders were not appropriate for heavy-breasted women.

A 2017 study led by Sarah Peitzmeier of the University of Michigan and published in the journal Culture, Health and Sexuality, observed almost 9 in 10 people experienced at least one negative effect from binding, and 8 out of 10 felt that it was important to discuss binding with a healthcare provider. For binding-related issues, only 30% of people sought medical care.  

A breast or chest binder is an item of clothing similar to an extra tight sports bra or tank top that is used by transgender and non-binary people to compress breast tissue and give the appearance of a flat chest. Pictured, an example of a chest binder available online

The breast or chest binder can be described as a piece of clothing that looks like a tank top or extra-tight sports bra. It is worn by transgender or non-binary individuals to reduce breast tissue, giving the chest an appearance of being flat. Here is an online example of a chest binding.

LushxG(end?)er Swap offers customers the option to pick their desired colour and size via a number of dropdown boxes. 

They can also choose between two different styles: either ‘half binder’, which covers just the upper part of the torso, or ‘tank’, which is shaped like a vest.

On collection, customers are asked to make a minimum £7 donation to G(end)er Swap in order to complete the transaction. 

The order form asks customers for the preferred pronouns they prefer, but does not include their birthdate. 

Hotly debated is the issue of consent in relation to gender transitioning and gender reassignment. 

The Court of Appeal has overturned a landmark decision against the NHS’ gender clinic and allows children younger than 16 to take their puberty blocks without parental consent.    

The High Court made a historic decision last December that said children below 16 who have gender dysphoria can only consent to hormone-blocking treatment if they understand the long-term and immediate consequences. 

Judges ruled that consenting to treatment by a 13-year-old child is highly unlikely and it’s doubtful that any child under 14 would accept it.

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust which operates the UK’s sole gender identity service for children filed a challenge to the June ruling.

A September judgment by the Court of Appeal stated that the High Court was wrong to provide guidance. Finding doctors should rather exercise judgement about consent and whether or not patients will be able to properly give it.