On Harmful Childbearing and Social Constructs

renai_1491As more and more people I know announce their marriage and subsequent pregnancies, a strange discomfort settles over me each time I see the words “It’s a _____!”. I now quietly ignore said messages and shake my head in lament. Thankfully such announcements I rarely encounter on the physical plane.

But, as usual, I need to be real.

Discomfort is a nice way of saying I’m frustrated. Sorry, I’m not jealous – there’s really no need to be nice with no real names used – but as I continue to walk this path of womanhood, armed with nothing but my budding self-worth and honest feelings – these varying sensations of being alive becoming messier by the day – I find myself irritated at the very notion of a soon-to-be-parent immediately confining their unborn child in society’s neat little box. If you know me, or have read anything I’ve shared here in the last year, the reason why I feel this way should be palpable.

I have an acquaintance (we’ll call her “Candice”) who I’ve loosely kept in touch with over the years who was excited about having another child. Nothing wrong with that, as I congratulated her on her unborn child appearing to be healthy. However, Candice was beginning to stress about whether her child would be a boy or a girl because of matters regarding her current child who is, so far, of the cis male persuasion. I forget exactly how I worded it, but I casually suggested that rather than focusing on something she cannot control, let alone feel as though she has the right to lay claim to label her child’s gender identity, she should instead concern herself with her unborn child’s health.

“At the end of the day, Candice, you should be saying ‘It’s a healthy child.’ You have no idea who they are just yet, and it’s best not to assume.”

Candice responded positively to my suggestion, but I’m almost certain that she, like many other mothers & fathers, fell prey to what they have always known. Humans have become too accustomed to the social tradition of announcing what an ultrasound has determined their child to be based on their biological sex. In other words, their genitalia. I’m hardly qualified to pose a scientific case, but who said I have to? All anyone has to do is look over their own life to see how much pressure and parental expectation there is to align in every way with one’s boy or girl parts.

Guess what though? The concept of “girl parts” and “boy parts” (i.e. biological sex) is a social construct created for the sake of making sense of who’s who and what’s what. This age-old practice ultimately seeks to devalue one’s desired gender expression and, in many cases, is a poor excuse for transmisogyny. For the non-believers, I truly encourage you to read this article regarding the use of said “social construct” to denounce and devalue the very real identities of transgender people such as myself.

Despite a related, personal digression, I should hope that my frustrations are understood as an honest concern. Not just in my own right as a female, but for the rights of every unborn child. Human beings are immensely complex creatures. Whether we want to or not, we are constantly changing, relentlessly seeking, repeatedly discovering, and infinitely questioning. There is so much to experience and so much to be revealed in this unknown time and space we call life. When we really think about our lives in the grand experience of self-expression, emotions, roads traversed, etc….to be expected to be purely binary on the basis of what is or isn’t between our legs is, in fact, weird and, frankly, a regressive line of thinking in my personal opinion.

“We are so much more than our genitals!” A popular quote by transgender people all around. Yes we are, and it’s true, not just for us, but for every human on this planet. We are all so fluid in our being, but society can’t quantify fluidity. So the pressures of falling in line with the binary – to proudly proclaim “it’s a ____!” – continue to strangle the fluidity to be all that we can and should be. Cis folk continue to propagate this outdated notion of genital obligation, as those who diverge from what their parent(s) said they were supposed to be continue to be disowned, homeless, shamed, or, in the worst cases, violently taken from this world too soon.

Cisgender, transgender, queer, or otherwise – we should all be free to be who we are. And who we are should never be stripped away or forced upon us. Perhaps my frustration will one day seem silly to someone finding this space decades from now, having already educated themselves on the error of human constructs long before ever setting foot here…

On being trans and desirable

pixiv-lymon

pixiv @ lymon: Admiral from Kancolle series

As I arrived and left of the car repair shop, I was outwardly candid, but inwardly angry, frustrated, and…proud. My car that was promised to be ready the day before was being given to me now, the day of a cosplay event. I had already steeled myself for showing up to pick up my car in cosplay that I took great pride in portraying. However, I also knew that my pride also stemmed from having eyes on me, as I carried myself confidently in 4-inch ruby heels and showing much skin. I knew I was the hottest piece of eye candy within eyeshot, and gladly embraced the attitude of my character, Poison.

Maybe they wanted me. I didn’t give a fuck.

That same day, my friend – I was late picking her up – and I parked outside of the location event & had to do some walking in the neighborhood. There were some elderly men chatting outside as we passed by, but we were preoccupied with our own chit-chat going back and forth on why the other girl was attractive. They must have thought they were out of earshot – or maybe they wanted us to hear – but they were clearly saying ‘thank you for the nice view’. Her & I discreetly giggled at each other & kept on talking until we reached the corner, unsure of which way to go. Just then, one of the elderly men from before shouted for us to make a left to get to the boardwalk.

Indecency countered by decency. Probably as thanks for being attractive. We both shouted thank you because that’s just what you do regardless.

Right?

To be honest, those are just two of many instances that men have ogled or flirted with me. Truth be told, I like the attention. This is coming from someone who has seen some shit as a spy in the male camp. So I am absolutely a long-time supporter of respecting females, treating them as human beings not objects, and, one of my most engrained values, not sexually harassing a female with your eyes. These feelings haven’t gone away & translate very well in protecting & respecting myself as my rightful gender. However, being acutely aware of the misogynistic stigma and disgusting fetishizing plaguing the transgender community puts me in a place where any honest compliments/affirmations of my femininity, despite being purely based on the physical, is something I have a hard time not feeling exceedingly grateful for.

What people don’t know is how much effort I have put into my face-value. My now standard voice that people feel compelled to compliment. My toned body that strangers have acknowledged with curious interest. Developing a makeup routine that is still developing. Years, and more years still, to get to this point. All of this for the sake of…

Myself.

Yes, I do it all for me to feel happy and beautiful. Doing anything I can to deal with this fully developed, biologically male body. And I’d be lying if I said that was my only reason. I believe that being desired by anyone, especially someone not driven by lust, is something that starts with the initial attraction. I also acknowledge that when all the smoke and mirrors go away, I am still me. However, I will never forget a phrase I wrote in a creative piece of prose during my darker years of high school…

Myself is never enough.

Even after becoming so much stronger and open as a whole person, I don’t hold my breath for a future that will be kind enough to give me someone who desires the me – the scared, sometimes dysphoric, highly self-conscious trans girl still light-years from a pleasing natural state that is very much a work in progress. Call me pessimistic, but really, there are so many other trans ladies out there who feel the same & admittedly have a lot more reason to than I. If nothing else, I owe it to myself to remain grounded & avoid ever thinking myself so highly – to be honest about my very real experiences of both being desired and deeming myself, the person in the mirror, utterly undesirable.

Comment if you relate or find my perspective flawed in some way.

Life update: Don’t give a fuck

pixiv-over-maple

Pixiv @ over-maple:

There have been a number of trans*-specific topics floating around in my head over the past few weeks, but I’ve been off attending events, meeting new people, and just living life in a way I never had a chance to before instead of writing. They say “live every day like it’s your last” and in some ways, I have been. I personally don’t believe anyone consciously does this, but rather allow themselves carte blanche to throw caution to the wind and do what their instinct says without thought of possible consequences.

Continue reading