Vaginal Discourse

Content note: Potentially triggering, TMI discussion of depression, anxiety, self-harm, sex, and being trans]

Earlier today, I wrote a [TW] series of tweets on what my past dysphoria’s been like the past few years. You should read it if that’s your sort of thing.

I’d been meaning to write this into a bad-ass essay, but it was easier to just write a series of tweets when I hadn’t quite woken up from my nightmares.

My point is that OH MY GOD thinks are so bad for me, or for all trans people ever. But I did want to get across the point of what it’s been like for me to fight with dysphoria these past few years. Dysphoria is clearly dynamic, in my case, it’s gotten worse over time, as I’ve been out for 10 years, but still haven’t had SRS and need to shave my face daily. Based on conversations with folks over the years, this is fairly typical, but don’t feel bad if it’s not you. Yay you!

Anyhow, I’m tired of dealing with medical professionals that “don’t know what to do” or “don’t have the expertise to deal with this” or “want to play it safe” by not giving me any care. For me, the status quo is incredibly damaging.

And I don’t want to hear any more about the potential horrors of “but I’ll use the ladies room!” (I’ve used the ladies room for 8 or 9 years, everyone).

Cis people need to frame medical care for trans people in terms of the impact on trans people, full stop. And in my case, the lack of adequate care is has seriously impacted my well-being.

Dysphoria isn’t “being sort of sad” that I can’t “lose 5 pounds” or “look prettier” or “be a dolphin.” It’s traumatic. It’s five-year-old me asking my grandmother when I’ll get rid of my cock (like, is it a baby tooth that’ll fall off?). It’s things profoundly not making sense. It’s being unable to comprehend my own body, because it’s too damn traumatic.

I’m not living with dysphoria. I’m trying to survive it. That’s my measure of most things these days– whether or not I got through them without hurting myself. I’m an old hand on this. I have lots of tricks, and lots of hope of making it through the worst of this. But I might not. A lot of women like me don’t.

That’s what I want to talk about. Not OMG BATHROOMS. Or BUT BIOLOGY (I have a Ph.D. in Biology, and the lot of you can stuff it). I want to talk about how to get me, and those like me (now and in future generations) help so that we can survive the dysphoria, and go on to live lifes that are connected to the world around us.

[Trigger warning for street harassment]

I just wanted to let y’all in on an exotic part of the trans* experience.

Let’s say the heat index i..OH MY FUCKING GOD. If you’re a cis dude, there’s a good chance you don’t need to worry about accidentally flashing your chest. For that matter, in a lot of settings it’s totally okay to wear clothes that reveal you have a wang and/or or balls, because it’s not like you’re sporting some kind of nasty cameltoe, amirite?

If you’re the kind of person who has breasts, you’re probably not going to risk exposing them to the breeze. Even in places where that sort of thing is [NSFW] legal, you’re likely to get a stern talking to from the authorities.

Based on my experiences (along with those of approximately half a bazillion other women), random assholes are also probably going to say all sorts of assholish things to you if you’re wearing a perfectly reasonable amount of clothing for a leisurely stroll on the surface of the sun.

If you’re trans*, there’s a decent chance even if (nay, especially if) you’re not wearing much, you’ll be binding or tucking parts of your body with tight, non-breathable fabrics. This is not comfortable.

However, consider the alternative: allowing strangers (and yourself) to see parts of your body that you’d rather not be there. As a trans* woman, there’s the added bonus of having strangers make loud comments about the fact that you’re a presumably cissexual woman that they, definitely assholish men, happen to approve of, only to make subsequent, louder comments about the fact that you’re a trans woman that they, still assholes, most definitely do not approve of. I soooooooooo do not recommend this.

Basically, what I’m saying is that if you see people on the street wearing some amount of clothing while also having bodies, you should keep your thoughts and your hands to yourself.