A few years ago, I wrote an essay about desirability as a queer trans woman. At the time, I was really sad that my female body was constantly being othered and/or masculinized because I was coersively assigned male at birth. I felt ugly and unwanted, all the time. Romantic partnership was out of the question and reach. You see, even though transition had set me free from a lifetime of suffering, I still found myself trapped behind layers and layers of self hatred and internalized transmisogyny. …

an excerpt from “Her Name was Pearl” • a short story by Amy Heart

“Sophie. Sophie, IS THAT YOU? Sophie, WHERE ARE YOU?”

I just walked in the door from a long day away. I was so exhausted, but so excited to see you. You had gotten home 20 minutes beforehand with Mama. I tried to time it so I wouldn’t be out too late, but clearly it wasn’t soon enough.

“Sophie, you weren’t home when I got home,” you yelled while scurrying across the house. “Why weren’t you here to meet me?”

There you were, staring at me from across the hall in your favorite formal gown…

A young woman is literally holding the Weight of the World up on her shoulders. The planet is so heavy that she can’t stand up any longer. A fire rages in the background. Words of hatred are scarred across the planet.

I’m a perpetually single, queer, 37-year-old trans woman. While I frequently experience deep emotional connections with other girls, I never dare to date anyone. The reason is pretty straight forward: I’m asexual. If you don’t experience sexual attraction, then why would you go out and seek it? Life is so much simpler when you are alone anyway, everybody would always tell me.

Except, it’s a lie. While I have identified with being asexual for most of my life, sometimes I crave something different — something new. That’s when I start to worry. What would happen if my biological clock suddenly…

A group of trans women writing and reading together at Brooklyn College in August 2016.

It’s a hot, late summer afternoon in the Pacific Northwest. I’m sitting in the corner of my favorite coffee shop drinking iced turmeric tea, remembering, wishing I wasn’t here. All I can think about is being with them, my new friends — my sisters — back in Brooklyn, New York, all over again. Life there made sense, if only for a moment. If I only had a T.A.R.D.I.S, I would fly back in an instant.

Something amazing happens when suddenly girls like me, girls like us, are the default setting. And for at least 26 of us, for one amazing week, we were.

There is this thing that cisgender people assume about my life as a transgender woman: that before I transitioned, I had male privilege. According to their interpretation of my body, the male privilege I acquired during puberty and freely used all the way up through my transition currently and forevermore informs and invalidates my understanding of what it means to be a “real” girl, and subsequently a “real” woman.

The problem here lies in one very flawed, cissexist assumption: that a girl designated male at birth (i.e. a transgender girl) experiences puberty just like a boy designated male at birth…

It was the Summer of 1987. I was eight years old, almost nine in three months coming. Up to that point, gender was a thing that I mostly ignored. It didn’t affect me, or so I thought. My heart was only ever about one thing: making art.

Amy Heart

feminist • queer femme • mamaheart • #girlslikeus

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