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Every utter of a given name
is a stab wound in the side.
And every she instead of
him is a bandage being
Every box is a label that
doesn’t quite fit.
Those breasts you oodle
and ahh can be yours for
The prick of the needle is
a pleasant sting.
Filing for a name is worth
a job or two.
And every box is a label
that doesn’t quite fit.
[Possible trigger warning for gender dysphoria]
I just wanted to ask this because it’s been on my mind lately.
I’m a cisfemale, for starters.
So my question is, is it cissexist/transphobic to love my body and my vagina and its functions? My menstruation is really important to me because I didn’t have it for a long time, and I have a big labia and I’m fat. Basically I’m now starting to become proud of my body and love it in its entirety, but I’m wondering if that’s cissexist.
What I’m asking basically is, is it okay for me to be body-positive about all of my body?
Note: I know that not all women have vaginas and/or have periods, and I know that some men have vaginas and experience periods. I know that menstruation is not a defining characteristic of womanhood.
I just wanted to make sure.
trigger warnings: gender dysphoria, internalized and external transphobia
Well then. Dug out the boxers and the side part I put away for a rainy day. Wound my clock so my room will continue ticking nicely. Figured out how to plug my favorite lamp back in, covered an uncomfortably cold round chair with a slightly-warm sheet, and tacked/taped a black piece of plastic over my round window (which has no curtain). Found my charcoal-grey owl plushie (whom I unabashedly named “Ten” so he could be Doctor Hoooo…). Got the Coldplay and the David Bowie. I can now have a bit of shirt-off time in my room, which I have desperately needed and haven’t been able to have since I’ve been home. Take that, dysphoria!
Sometimes I just can’t help but feel like a fake. I know my dad supports me, but even he suggested I should talk to a counselor about my gender identity; I didn’t know how to explain to him that most of the time these days gender counselors’ job is less to convince you whether or not you’re trans*, and more to help you feel at ease with the gender identity you have for yourself, whatever that turns out to be. I think it speaks more about his insecurity than mine…But as much as I remember in the back of my head that nobody can determine my gender but me, and that not all men look alike etc, and all the other things we’re given in therapy and trans* resources, I can’t help but feel like I can’t possibly belong to this maleness—that I’m playing at something, that we’re all playing a game and being told we’re good little boys for it. I read articles about Laura Jane Grace and Mina Caputo and some of the other musicians who’ve come out as trans recently, and then in the comments there are those omnipresent haters and bigots. I read what they say about “deviants being catered to” and how we’re “mutilating ourselves” and “shouldn’t be coddled” and “should be sent to a good hospital for psychotropic medication”, how genderqueer people and transmen are just trying to look cool and androgynous and chic/hip or get attention. And I try to remind myself that they are haters, that I should ignore them, that I am not sick or a bad person or deluded, but it still gets through and I can’t avoid wondering if maybe it’s all true. Especially for me, since I don’t have the stereotypical narrative, since I’m not particularly masculine even at the heart of my male identity, since I came to this relatively late. In high school I always used to strongly sympathize with gay men and the LGB community, even before I knew about the T or the Q. And for a long time after I came out as bi, and then as queer and trans, I wondered if maybe I was just so desperate to sympathize with the community that I was trying to take on their identities—maybe I’m actually just a cisgender heterosexual girl who’s unsatisfied enough with her life to want to live out somebody else’s, and who’s going to wake up in 20 years and have it all have just been a phase (like my mom thinks I probably will).
I try really hard to remember how good and how right and how much like a sigh of relief every single masculinizing moment has been—every piece of male clothing, every haircut, binding my chest, getting “sir”ed, having people use either gender-neutral or male pronouns. How the only times I’ve ever felt comfortable and sexy with the idea of wearing Victoria’s Secret underwear have been when I imagined wearing it under a three piece suit, cross-dressing the other way. How the idea of having gay sex or even just a romantic relationship with another man as a man was a revelation, a wonderful thing. How as funny and kind of silly as it is, slash fanfiction is often deeply therapeutic. (“At Least There’s The Football” got me started on my current exercise regime—if Mycroft Holmes could take control of his physical wellbeing, why couldn’t I?) How male singers are the only ones I can ever feel are singing in my soul with my own voice. How good drag feels. How I actually like dancing on a dance floor at a club or party (or school dance show) if I’m dancing as a guy. How I don’t feel like I’m trying to wear a veneer or a facade of something, except when I try just a little too hard to be masculine. How seeing the muscle on my arms and not being able to feel my shoulder blades under the new padding, how having my spine be firmly concave between two curves of muscle was. How I finally realized that the reason I was SO picky about clothing was because nothing framed my body the way I subconsciously wanted it to.
Once, in frustration with my mom after she told me her fear that I was destroying something, I told her that no, I was creating something. In retrospect, that wasn’t really what I was trying to say—I didn’t create a new life, a construct of a persona (like she had then proceeded to worry). I have created a new niche for myself, a new set of relationships with my friends and professors, a new sense of confidence and leadership. But more than anything else, I’ve just stripped away all my pretenses, everything false and uncomfortable that I was living under. I’m just me now. And I’m sorry if I’m different in some ways, but so far as I can tell, most of those differences are positive ones—in terms of my self awareness, my happiness, my well-being and motivation. I don’t drown anymore, I at least try to swim. I don’t know. Maybe this is all just a phase or a facade? I don’t care. I don’t care. It feels damn good, and I just want to feel that, you know? I think, even if it is, that I’d rather live a really nice illusion or delusion than a reality that would suck. I can deal with the problems I’m going to have in my professional life, on grad school applications, in legal matters, in the “real world” my mom is so worried about. Difficulties don’t phase me; I’ve had more than enough of them and have a fairly good tolerance/patience for them. I don’t care. I just want to live my life. Real and genuine and legitimate or not.