Trans Bodies and You: A lesson in how you can shut the f**k up

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Originally, I thought tranny 9/11 was when Caitlyn Jenner won Woman of the Year — a seemingly out of nowhere tragedy celebrating perhaps one of the worst of our kind, marred by devastation, the sounds of old white men yelling, and internet outrage. But here we are, sitting at our various internet devices, staring stone cold into the void. The void of the trans body discussion. The void of SPORTS. Of Lia Thomas. And suddenly, everyone is an expert on a body I feel alien in sometimes, a body I hardly understand, and wants to weigh in on it — constantly.

I do not care about sports. I do not know what sports are — I am disgusted to even have to use the word in a sentence, as one who has given up muscle mass to walk the flower road life of one committed to the pursuit of beauty, estrogen, and chemical castration. The ‘affirming’ health care trans people to receive to aid us in our transitions is a hodgepodge of techniques and developing research, and at times, a funny science experiment where the consequence is your genitals never working again. It is not an easy thing to sign yourself up for, it is not an easy existence to live in a shape constantly changing in ways you cannot predict or may even like. It is a life where, in order to survive (either by societal standards or your own) that painful, expensive bone sawing, flesh removal, and more are almost requirements, and to not have them is to live a severely reduced quality of life.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 8: Lia Thomas of the Pennsylvania Quakers after competing in a freestyle event during a tri-meet against the Yale Bulldogs and the Dartmouth Big Green at Sheerr Pool on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on January 8, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Nobody is out here electing to do these things for fun. Nobody wants to damage their reproductive health, their love lives, their professional prospects and careers and families to trick straight people or beat women at sports, and the notion is so out of touch and delusional, I really wonder why people are so comfortable saying it — But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about everyone, and their participation in this debacle, and the absolutely dehumanizing and objectifying ways I have seen allies, enemies, and those in between discuss trans bodies: aptly, my body.

I already exist in a fugue state of thinking I am the hottest person in a three mile radius to thinking I am an inhuman goblin who deserves to be burned at the stake. Some days, I can’t even look at myself or process the fact I am a living human because of how people treat me — alien. Being faced with the reality that my body is abnormal (for now), and is not the societal standard or acceptable by it is draining. I can have all the self confidence, I can say all the buzzwords I want, I could engrave trans women are women on my forehead, but that’s not going to reduce the feeling I get when I’m called a man by people. It’s not going to shrink my shoulders or ribs, or cause my body hair to thin — it’s not going to give me the smallest pussy on planet earth, and it’s not going to fix years of bullying, degradation, fetishization, and cruelty. It won’t make my peers or family look at me cleanly: I can never have the body I want, I can never be the person I want, I can never be anything other than the perceptions of myself and those around me.

And this feeling isn’t uncommon, despite what Twitter may have you believe: every trans person is not a steel shield of infographics and affirmations. Some of us are weak. Some of us are suffering. Some of us struggle to get out of bed, to accept ourselves, to push forward with all the cruelty we’ll endure from ourselves and others just on the basis of our bodies.

So imagine, for a second, waking up to find every person you knew discussing the validity of your body. Your hormones. Your build. Your right to exist in the ways other do, being constantly reduced to either medical science, statistics, or assumptions: you’re already trying to remind yourself you’re human, yet everyone, even those close to you, are discussing you like you’re a cut open frog on a 8th grade science lab table. Yet you’re alive, and feel their scalpels dragging across your flesh. Your internal nightmare, the thing the other frogs told you happens sometimes that you thought was urban legend is now real: there is no kiss that is going to make you a real prince, or a real princess…

There’s only science. There’s only theory. There’s only objectification, and a verbal dissonance that’s going to pound at your head while you read threads upon threads of people debating: Hey, are you a human? Are you a person? Is your body real?

So be mindful of what you’re saying, your tone — or perhaps, just shut the fuck up about it? It doesn’t need to be discussed. Our bodies are real, our bodies are here. Our bodies are not yours, so please: shut your fucking mouth.

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