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I am a person of transgender experience. This phrase describes the authenticity of being someone who shares a set of experiences around being assigned a gender at birth other than their actual gender.
If you apply this same frame to other aspects of being a woman (or man or nonbinary or fluid or whatever your gender is, you all count), you’ll see how OBVIOUS this frame can be. And how obviously wrong anyone is to say any of these things make you any less real.
Let’s start with a few more classically trans girl aspects, but then we’ll move into aspects that you’ll see don’t actually have anything to do with what you fear. None of what you’re experiencing invalidates your gender identity.
I am a person with experiences around… (feel free to add your own)
… uncomfortable masculine facial traits
…enviable feminine facial traits
…more body hair than I like
…not enough curves in some places
…too many curves in other places
…only finding safety in boy’s clubs
…only finding safety in girl’s clubs
…only finding safety with boys who hurt me
…only finding safety with girls who hurt me
…no one until adulthood to help me explore femininity
…primarily male-oriented experiences that never felt right but always felt required
…anguish anytime someone misgenders me
…anguish at the possibility of telling someone they misgendered me
…people who insist I don’t count as a real
…the inability to have children outside of adoption
…more/less testosterone than is healthy for me
…more/less estrogen than is healthy for me
…a body that went in directions I need my doctor’s help to manage
People (including ourselves) will frame those aspects around invalidation. They’ll say that if any of these things happen because you were born with or without certain genitals, you no longer count as a person. And pardon the pun, but that is REE-DICKULOUS.
When I find myself crippled with doubt and resentment, I go back to this new way of expressing my identity. I frame it in the same way every woman experiences the difficult and painful moments around our bodies.
My sister is a cisgender girl who has struggled with things about her body that I’ve never faced. There are things about my body she would gladly trade for hers, and there are things about hers I would gladly trade for mine. The imperfections in our bodies are a part of our gender identity. We would be facing those even if we had never also had transgender experiences.
Our pain is part of what proves our identity. At least now we have a way to experience that pain that proves we are who we have always known ourselves to be.
PS. I’m just articulate and long winded. I don’t actually know anything 👀
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