The national free binder program was launched on March 31st, and In the first 24 hours we had over 120 requests, plus some international ones (unfortunately we only supply binders for folks in Aotearoa NZ). The seamstress we work with was hard at work, having purchased all the double reinforced power mesh which was available through her supplier. This had mostly gone toward making all the prototypes for binders, and our first 20 free binders (10 each month for April and May).
When the fabric ran out, the supplier thought they could re-stock, so we continued accepting new binder requests and orders for paid binders, with the understanding that we would need to apply for funding to clear the backlog on free binders, but paid binder purchases could be filled as they came in, and we would continue to give away 10 free each month.
However, after some time, we discovered that the fabric supplier was unable to re-stock, so the seamstress, as well as GMA and other trans advocates, went to work looking for new fabric suppliers.
As we are not a commercial operation, and we run on very little money, we don’t have big buying power, and we’re limited to fabric which is available in NZ at a reasonable price, so this put a halt on the creation of binders until a new supplier could be found.
Then one day in late June, the seamstress found a new fabric supply. She immediately set to work on the new design 2.0 – it runs slightly larger and is more like the GC2B binder than the Underworks one. It’s also ok to put on overhead.
We have had fantastic feedback about these binders – even better than the first ones! There is now a wider selection of sizes as well, currently up to around an 18EE or XXXL.
In addition to the 10 free binders each month, almost all of the paid binders have been sent out in the order they were received, except a few which we ran out of the correct size for. Those last few should be sent in the next few weeks – as soon as the seamstress has time to make them (bear in mind she’s not a big commercial factory either).
We have stopped taking orders for paid binders, as chasing down payments was too much admin for our small crew, and having paid increased the expectation of a fast service akin to a shop. All paid binder orders now go direct to the seamstress. As for free binder requests, these have continued to come in, at a rate much closer to 10 per month.
So what about the backlog? We have plans to clear the entire waiting list, which we hope will be possible in August if our funding application and fund raisers come through, so fingers crossed! We welcome any help fund raising for binders – if you or your friends want to play a gig, have a sausage sizzle or cake stall, put on a drag show, or sell some hand crafts and donate the proceeds, your contributions make a big difference! Every $30 pays for another binder.
The binder programme is run by a small team of GMA volunteers, who all work hard for free. If you would like to ask a question or make a complaint, please do not contact the seamstress or individual volunteers directly, as their role does not involve handling feedback from 150+ people. Please direct all correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org or for urgent matters call the National Coordinator on 020 404 92568