A store in Canada is receiving support from elected officials this week after it was fined $260 for selling to a teen an elastic garment intended to give the chest a flat appearance, angering the youth's parents, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
The garment, called a chest binder, is often used by transmasculine people to achieve the appearance of a flat chest and may even be considered a medical device.
However, the teen's parents complained to law enforcement about the purchase, and Venus Envy, an adult goods store in Ottawa, found itself subject to fines based on a city bylaw that prevents adult stores from selling goods to those under 18, reports the CBC.
"There's nothing illegal about the binder. The problem is the premises," wrote the Ottawa Citizen. "Even though there is a demand for products that help transgender youth affirm their gender identity, teens can't enter the store to buy the products. It's even unclear if those under 18 can enter the store and make a purchase if a parent or guardian is present."
Venus Envy owner Shelley Taylor told the Citizen that her store is the only one in the city that sells products such as binders and gaffs -- a garment used to smooth the genital area. She said that on an average Saturday, her store sells three or four gaffs and between six and eight binders.
She said teens in particular may select her store because they may not have credit cards and can't order online, or may fear having products mailed to their homes.
"Do you need to have fake ID to buy something that affirms your gender? That's good for your emotional and mental health?" Taylor asked. "Our goal is to make people comfortable and offer good service."
According to the CBC, elected officials have sided with Taylor and revoked her fine and hope to repeal the bylaw which had prevented her from serving teen customers.
Somerset Councilor Catherine McKenney and Mayor Jim Watson both seek to repeal the law.
"Stores like Venus Envy have a role to play. It's an issue of public health, mental health and support for youth. It just makes sense we would look at this bylaw and make sure it reflects the need for these purchases," McKenney told the Citizen.
Taylor told the paper she plans on immediately removing explicit video content from her store so that she will be legally allowed to serve all ages and is pleased with the support.
"We know that having access to information and a supportive community is the key to acceptance and well-being, and this is clearly what we want for our youth," Taylor told the paper.
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