The topic of body image among transgendered individuals, at least in my experience, is avoided. I have had plenty of conversations about how my mind and body feel incongruent with my birth assigned physical gender but the conversation tends to not go any deeper. I haven’t really wanted to until I began to develop some confidence in my body image and overall self-esteem.
I have been reading the Glennon Doyle book, “Untamed: stop pleasing and start living” and have been really internalizing some of her concepts on body image and an internal conversation between my insecure and secure selves developed and it went something a little like this:
Secure Self: “I find myself to be beautiful right this second, right now. I am a woman, not a trans woman, but a woman. Therefore, everything I do is what a woman does- the way I walk and talk is all woman. All women are unique and have their own version of femininity, I am no exception. I am pretty, I have a body I like, I am secure.”
Insecure Self: “If I am so beautiful right this minute, then why are you trying to change me into something else?”
Secure Self: “What do you mean?”, now a little insecure.
Insecure Self: “Well, you say I am good as I am, a woman right now. If this is true then why are you taking hormones to change me?”
I have to admit, this is a tough piece for me to publish or even talk about. It is the nucleus of a trans identity. It is the internal war that occurs inside so many Trans and Non-Binary folx and to be frank, inside so many women in general. The idea that we, as a group have a standard we are attempting to meet feels like it is the chains that bind us to unhappiness and discontent with ourselves.
Talking with someone about this is complicated because it can be taken that if I accept myself as I am then I no longer have a need to transition thus making “Gender Dysphoria” (that diagnosis for transgendered individuals) a body image issue to be corrected via better self-esteem. This is NOT the case though. I am a woman with the parts most most men have and now I must accept that some women have them as well. To this end I must accept that I am a beautiful WOMAN and I also have a need to fulfill my own personal version of femininity. Which, for me, means I want breasts and a vagina and so many other things. Hormones gets me closer to my personal version of myself that I want.
But saying that is hard, for some reason. I am not sure why. Maybe I am the only one, maybe not. I try not to be the spokesperson for every trans person because we have our own voices, the last thing we need is someone else trying to tell us how to think. What we need is someone to say it’s okay to think for ourselves. So, to that end, let’s have a chat, shall we?
Masculinity and femininity are constructs of a social order. A social order that, in my opinion, was created on narrow minded, racist, sexist, patriarchal, classist, and an antiquated sense of superiority based on religious segregationism. How about we change that.
I’ll go first. I love me AND I have my own sense of what I want to look like that makes me feel whole, beautiful AND I can achieve that thanks to science. I’m gonna do that.
To help support or share in my release, please visit my gofundme created by some unusually wonderful folx in the community at: