I am transgender and I was not “born in the wrong body.”

jasper ignatius
Feb 25, 2018 · 4 min read

I was born in a body that has always belonged to me. I was born in a body that has grown with me and that I have been fortunate to be able to make a number of choices for. I’ve gotten haircuts I wanted, dyed my hair, pierced myself, earned bruises and broken bones, concussions and sickness. I get to choose whether I take medications. I get to choose whether I want to drink alcohol, or stay up late.

I never made these decision for that imaginary “woman’s body” that people claim I’m living in. I never lived in another person’s body. I’ve lived in my body. I am not a woman. I live in a genderqueer body. I live in a genderqueer’s body. I live in a trans body. It doesn’t belong to anyone else. This is everything we have been fighting to prove, and should not have to.

Picture of “I LOVE MY TRANS BODY” spray painted in large lettering onto the side of a dumpster. At Ohio State University.

I am allowed to call my body the gender that it is. It belongs to no one else. I deserve autonomy over it.

With the eating disorder rate among trans people what it is (link is to resources for trans folks and providers, not stats), why are people so determined to let this continue? A body is a home, let me renovate it and love it through every step of the process if I would be doing that anyway.

(I mean, I don’t exactly love it, but that’s my own thing, and it’s not up to cis bigots or apologists to dictate what that should be in order to declare whether I am “really trans” or “transtrending” or whatever.)

Embroidery by Lane Patriquin, quote by Ollie Renee Schminkey.

The issue with this “born in the wrong body” narrative is that it works to take away trans people from our own bodies. It works to disembody us and paint us as concepts, as souls without homes, as some kind of divine mistake where we were simply mismatched.

This narrative started with a purpose. To use whatever terms that would get people completely removed from our experience and lives to get some semblance of basic understanding. It was a mistranslation, but one that a lot of ignorant people needed to feel comfortable giving us hormones, letting us go on years-long waitlists for surgeries. If we were willing to suffer so much, to get people to understand that we are this, who we say we are, it puts down the impression that we aren’t allowed to stray from that prescription idea of what a man or a woman is. It’s a privilege to be a tomboy and a lesbian without your gender identity being invalidated. It’s a privilege to be a man who does drag and wears purses who still gets basic access to healthcare. It’s a privilege to be able to fill out forms without having to skip or force exit the two-option multiple choice gender question.

To be able to love your body, or make choices about it in general, without having your access to family, food, healthcare, shelter put in jeopardy. Can you imagine if we had an actual conversation about the reproductive rights of trans people without being derailed by people who think someone is less of a woman because her wife carries her biological child? Or because some of us choose not to have certain procedures or surgeries?

In support support of the rights of a trans people to be able to get surgeries, it goes hand in hand that we can decline if we want to. It does not count as “rights” if you are discounting their identity if they say they do not want something. It doesn’t count as liberation if you are not free to say no.

This works exponentially harder for those who are part of other marginalized groups as well who have their sense of body questioned. For the fat and plus sized, the disabled, the racialized, the sex workers, the survivors of rape and other atrocities, among other groups. There are so many of us.

The idea that all people deserve bodily autonomy and decisions over their own reproductive organs and rights should go across the board.

Don’t misgender our bodies or separate us from them. I have worked hard to make this body my home and I have been made to fight for it every step of the way. I should be allowed to make decisions about what happens to my chest, or my genitalia, or my uterus, without my personhood and my own inhabitation of my body being pulled into question. I am myself, through every shape I have ever been. Through surgery consultations and on months of hormones, I am just as much myself, living in my own body, as I was before.

You don’t realize what you are saying, when you say that I was born in a woman’s body. I was born in a baby’s body, I was born in mine. It grew with me and I’m still living here.

A sign I made and carried at the 2017 Ottawa march for trans, 2 spirit, & gender non-conforming people. It reads, (in all caps): “I am not oppressed by my body / I am oppressed by cissexism”.

jasper ignatius

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⚧ crowdfunded, disabled, artist, vagabond with a big heart. transgenderqueer.