My Body is NOT Wrong

I am transgender, and I am tired of being told that I must have been “born in the wrong body”to fit the trans narrative.

I am not just a man or a woman. I’m gender nonconforming, or nonbinary, or genderfluid. Sometimes, I’m one or the other. Occasionally, I’m neither and my gender has flown off into the distance. Usually, I find myself somewhere in between both those genders, or a combination of both and more in a way that most people probably won’t understand, but that’s okay.

I don’t need your understanding. I just need your respect. I just need you to listen and not place your expectations of my gender on me.This is not a post explaining what nonbinary is. There are other sources out there to do that.

The point is that it is 2017, and with all the shit that has already unfolded and will continue to (trans bathroom bill revoked)due to our “president,”I see 2 solutions to it- I can either die now or decide to fight it. And I’ll be damned if I let him be the death of me.

Every single trans person I know is a survivor and a fighter. The world is not made for us to succeed and be comfortable in ourselves, and every day and every moment is a battle to push against that just to live.

I refuse to stay silent about things anymore and I am challenging myself and others to work through their discomfort when it’s safe to do so and call people out and stand up for what’s right- for myself and others.

As a gender non-conforming individual, I am SICK AND TIRED of hearing the “born in the wrong body” trope.I still hardly see dialogue about trans people outside of celebrities,but if I quantified the amount of times I heard that narrative when trans people are mentioned, it would be 100% of the time.

And for some trans people, that is how they felt and that’s their story and that’s okay.

What is wrong is when that becomes the singular narrative to describe .6% of American adults, or roughly 1.4 million people, which is likely to be under estimated when accounting for young trans people or those who aren’t out. (x)

Regardless, it entirely erases other narratives and places the trans narrative into a neat little box for cisgender (people who identify with their assigned gender at birth)people to understand and either to 1. Medicalize transness and call it a mental illness (specifically gender identity disorder) and 2. Paint transness as a tragic thing to be born into, something one would never choose to be, some horror in which every trans person feels dysphoric and aspires to pass as cis.

Not only does this detract from varying narratives on trans peoples’ experiences at large, it doesn’t make room for shifting narratives or nonbinary identities, which have only just begun to come onto people’s radar outside of the trans community. It also perpetuates cisnormativity and the idea that we all aspire to “pass” or wished to be born cisgender. It puts cisgender people above us as being inherently “better” or happier for being cis.

Well hello!! Surprise!!! That’s wrong.

I, A TRANSGENDER PERSON, WAS NOT BORN IN THE WRONG BODY.

This is MY BODY, a body I was born into and a body I connect with.

But my body is NOT a female body. It is not a women’s body or a lady’s body or a girl’s body or whatever else. Bodies do not have a gender. They are flesh suits to house our brains and organs and we have ascribed a gender to them based almost exclusively on what is between a person’s legs.

I have a vagina. But it is not a female body.

If we can’t assume someone with a vagina is a woman because trans men exist, then what defines gender? I challenge you to think about this. Is it the way we dress? But there are plenty of women who dress more masculine and vice versa, and the way we dress is simply a decision of how we express ourselves and personality.(x) They don’t indicate gender the same way that your favorite color doesn’t.

My body is the gender that I am- and so it fluctuates between male, female, neither, both and more. It is as fluid as my gender is, because my gender is in my brain and my body. The separation of sex and gender is a transphobic idea at its core, implying that although I may be trans or a man, I will always have a “female body.” Can you see how uncomfortable that is?

I am not female. I was merely designated as such when I was born based on this idea of gender/sex we have.

At a trans meeting a few years back, someone asked us- “Do you think you’d have as much dysphoria or want to transition physically if society didn’t gender your body?”

And that question stays on my mind a lot when I think about my dysphoria. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot since, and for me, it’s a clear NO.

No, I would not get as much dysphoria if the world didn’t gender my body and my face and my mannerisms.

No I would not want to get top surgery if society would leave me and my chest alone.

My body is NOT WRONG.

It feels wrong because EVERYONE else in the world tells me to hide my chest and sexualizes them when 1. They’re not any less or more breasty when attached to a woman or contain more fat and 2. People gender my chest as a “woman’s” when I am NOT a woman and THEREFORE no part of me is a woman- not my chest or my vagina or my hands or my face or my left toe.

No matter where I go or what I wear, I am almost exclusively called “Ma’am, lady, Ms.” due to my short stature, long hair, feminine voice and facial shape.

I like my height. I’m huggable. I love my hair and how soft it is. My voice is just a vehicle to communicate and it’s fine. My face is the face I’ve always had, the face I see everyday. I like all those qualities about myself. I don’t feel the need to change them. But I feel forced to choose between them and getting misgendered on the daily.

If I was allowed to be topless the same way people without breasts are, I would never desire top surgery. If I wasn’t misgendered on a daily basis by everyone around me, I would feel very little desire to go on hormones or always dress masculine.

What needs to be understood is that the trans narrative varies. There is no one main story, nor are we all sad struggling people. Nearly all of the pain of being trans comes from society, our inability to be recognized as our gender, to be treated with respect, to have our proper name and pronouns used.

There is nothing tragic or wrong about being transgender.

The tragedy lies in the murders we face from bigoted people, lies in the silence of people, in the establishment of the status quo that does not allow for our stories and identities to thrive.

I love being trans. I love not feeling like I’m conforming to gender norms. I love feeling flexible in the way I present myself. I love the wonderful and strong and amazing people I’ve met in my community who have inspired me and allowed me to grow and be a better person. I love my trans fam and I would never wish to be cisgender. Realizing I was transgender was one of the most pivotal and greatest things to happen to me.

What wasn’t and still isn’t great is the way people perceive and treat me. It’s the way I’m forced into boxes I never ascribed to that hurts me- not being trans.

With that, I implore everyone to rethink or just think about their ideas of gender and what it means to be a man or woman and the language they use when speaking about people they don’t know. Gender can’t be assumed and if we begin to revise the way we use language to gender people, then we can shift the focus from the medicalization of trans people to the social issues that force trans people to be medicalized and ostracized.