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BODY IMAGE CULTURAL ANALYSIS MAIN

TDOV Post: The Stuff of Cis Nightmares

The problem of transitioning within the past and present medical establishment is that it’s meant to make you cisgender, or at least a close approximation of this standard. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying the actual help many trans people received through state and medicine and the personal happiness they got out of it. For both my own state-funded measures and for whatever anyone needs and gets, I am grateful. I am, however, highly critical of the bigger picture: the aim of rendering us invisible for our own good. The mere existence of a Trans Day of Visibility (which, I have learned today, started as recently as 2009 – merely two years before my own coming out) seems audacious, insolent in this light.

Speaking of cheekiness: who knows me online knows that I am quite naked on Social Media. Partly it’s because I’ve completely lost my shame on the way of transitioning within the legal system, somewhere in-between gyno appointments, psychological assessments and repetitive questions on dating apps. And partly because my naked body as it is today incites something that I like to call Cis Horror in the poor souls sharing a sauna or a beach with me. Until this stops, I see flashing the Cis as my moral obligation.

If the trans body being rendered cis-ish through black magic and weird science is considered the Happy Ending by cis society, nothing can be worse than the image of the cis who accidentally transed him- or herself. In reality, it’s an okay life. While I fully acknowledge and use the privileges of being read as “cis enough” for most purposes nowadays, I must say that I sometimes look back on the times before: my young man’s beard, the copious, dark body hair, my lanky frame that is now overgrown by curves. I liked the person who I used to be. I liked my self-made, self-defined androgyny in particular.

Under this system, you can have your pronouns pin and eat it, too. Anything else in this society – money, power, visibility, a voice, a job, an apartment, anything of worldly value – will be made infinitely harder to access for a person who doesn’t perform cisgenderness. The idea of existing as an act of deliberate resistance is, generally, often formulated by those who never had to make the choice between perishing as self or surviving as another. I include myself here. The depth of my despair was never about being unable to buy food or about not having a physical shelter.

And still.

I like to tell interviewers that I transitioned in order to have the body that I feel comfortable with, which I now do. In a world in which only an invisibly trans body is socially acceptable, and in which the story of a cis person subjecting their body to gender-related physical changes seems to fall right between Kafka and Cronenberg, I might just flip one day and say: “I was a young girl alright, I just transitioned to own the Cis.”

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