Pride. It's a really funny concept to me, honestly. At it's surface. With all it's overwhelming celebration. And all that partying. It's not the same for me as it is for the LGB folx in my life. Because being trans isn't really something I'm proud of. Like at all.
To me, its like a kind of cancer. It's a disease that is fought with scalpels and hormone therapy. Unlike with my LGB brothers and sisters, it is not a lifestyle that I cherish or hold dear. So Pride is always this awkward thing for me. Right? Because my trans-ness---my body dysphoria---isn't something I would ever want to celebrate or take pride in.
Its coronary artery disease.
It's a kind of trauma that informs every second in every moment that you move through this world. It's the kind of trauma that gets stitched so tight to your soul that you can't really tell where the trauma stops and you begin.
And you walk alone with it.
People look at you differently. Very differently. Everywhere you go. People who might have loved you in another body spit at you. Whole relationships that might have changed the trajectory of your life become inaccessible. Your entire being becomes twisted around their perception of you being some kind of freak. Whether you choose to believe them or fight back. Your whole life--your whole being--must become a counterpoint to the accusation that you are sick in the head. That you are a kind of monster. Even though maybe all you have ever wanted was to help people. Even though you might be brimming with love. They will burn away this truth if you let them.
And still. Their words are nothing compared to the pain that many of us find each morning when we stare into our mirrors and once more discover a body that does not make sense to us.
If you've never felt that...well. There are no words for this kind of horror. And it doesn't ever go away. No matter how many times you lie down on that cool metal table, falling into so deep a sleep that you feel nothing when their scalpels dance and glide through your skin like little silver ballerinas, cutting away the masculinity in your face or your hips or your chest or your ribs like the heads of daisies at the hands of gardeners in a red field.
I'm sorry. But no. I don't really find pride in my body dysphoria. Or in simply being a woman.
But there is a reason I still go to pride. It is the reason I made no effort to cover my scars this year. And why I shiver when I see my brothers and sisters stomping through the streets in the trans march with their fists raised high, faces contorted into visions of reckless defiance, screaming away their breath and melting together into a swaying procession of unrelenting trans beauty...
I am not proud to be a trans woman.
I am proud to be thriving as a trans woman.
Our community did not choose to be this way.
But we do choose to stand and fight. And there is pride in this.
Like many of my trans brothers and sisters, I am very much proud to have survived in this body and overcome nearly 3 decades of adversity. I am proud to have conjured up the strength to have worked myself to the bone to afford the life-saving, gender affirming surgeries that I have had--those that my government and healthcare providers could not have possibly been bothered to lift a finger to help with.
I am proud to have been my own champion. Just as I and my trans brothers and sisters are the proud champions of one another.
And while I am not proud of my scars--neither those left behind by surgeons to remind me of the agonizing weeks and months I have spent in hospital beds recovering, nor those inflicted on me through acts of violence by those seeking to reinforce the idea that there is no place for trans people in this world—each scar is tethered inseparably to the memory of a moment where I learned a still-deeper mode of strength and mental resilience. And for that, I am proud to have endured the moments when I earned them.
This is why, for this year's pride look, I chose not to cover up my surgical scars with clothing or makeup.
I am not proud of my trans-ness.
But I am proud that however weak I might feel in any given moment, each day that I live and continue to breathe is a declaration of war against my trauma—is a declaration that I am stronger than both the seen and unseen forces that fight to undermine me.
I guess when it comes down to it...
...maybe I am proud to be a trans woman.
And if you're trans and you have felt like me,
maybe you should be too.
Because maybe the truth is that our trans-ness is nothing like cancer after all...
maybe it is just a lesson from the goddess
that the most sacred kind of beauty
is the kind that is born from pain.
And when that pain arrives
and we find ourselves shaking in our skin...
perhaps it is her way of reminding us
that we are her sacred, chosen children.
And that this
I love you*~,'.`;<3
For all there is, keep fighting*~,'.`;<3