22 Years: My Body

I have lived in this body of mine for 22 years. I know most of the ins and outs of it. I know what feels good, feels bad, makes me sick, makes me happy, or makes me sad. I know when I am getting sick and I know when something is wrong. I have lived in my body for 22 years now and in a short time, I will have lived in it for 23 years. In fact, I have had this body for even longer than that, but it was not really complete at that time, even now, my body is incomplete.

However, when someone asserts they know more about my body than I, they are asserting they have more intimate knowledge of the body I have spent 22 years residing in. When someone asserts that how I label my body is incorrect or wrong, they are saying they have more knowledge of my body than I do. In fact, many people base their arguments on my body based on what a doctor spent three seconds looking at when I was born, my genitals. These people are asserting that this doctor, who only knew me for those mere moments, knows me better than I do after 22 years in this body.

My body is my own. When people assert that they know more about my body and how to label it, they are removing this fact. When people argue that I am ‘female-bodied’ as opposed to male-bodied, they are stripping me of my bodily autonomy. They are removing me of my right to exist as I am and as I have learned who I am. When people assert their labels over my own, they are telling me that they have more intimate knowledge of the body I have spent 22 years in. Many of these people are people who have never met me. Many of these people have only interacted with me through words and text. These are people who have never even seen the body they are trying to describe, they just simply know I am trans*.

According to these people, who have never seen my body, I am female. I was assigned a female designation upon birth, and thus, I will always be female. The doctor who assigned this and the people determining this now know more about my body than I do. 22 years in this body, on this planet, living my life mean nothing to them. The fact that I have a vagina is all powerful to them. They assert that my vagina has more power over me, than I have power over it. I am reduced to my genitals. Sometimes, I am reduced to my chromosomes, of which I do not know. Because I have a vagina, I am assumed to be XX. Once again, these two little chromosomes have more power over my body than I do as a complete person. I am reduced to parts as opposed to a whole.

Even those who have seen my body, whether it be clothed, naked, up close, or from afar, do not know of it more than I do. They have not walked the streets with it. They have not felt it grow. These people have not felt it change and shift, nor have they felt the pain or sorrow it has held. They have not experienced nearly losing it either, not the fear of losing it. No matter how close they get, they cannot inhabit me. No one can. My body is my own, an extension, an experience. It is something that can never be truly felt by another, from the inside, no matter how much detail I describe it in, for there are some things about life that are truly indescribable. They can never be me. They can never learn the intimate knowledge of my body that I know.

22 years means nothing. The fact I have navigated the world in this body for over two decades means nothing. The fact that I have lived with this body, felt it at its most vulnerable and most powerful, the fact that I have felt this body almost lost, mean nothing. No, according to these people, my body is not my own. My body is not the sum of its parts as I, the person inhabiting them, see them. My body is how they see it, whether they have actually seen it or not. My body, according to them, is not my own and is not mine to do with as I please. I have no bodily autonomy according to these people, I am at their mercy, a live vivisection for them to label as they see fit.

I am 100% biologically male. I am not an android, last time I checked. When I get hurt, I bleed and I feel pain. I am 100% biologically male because, I am biological. I am made of organs, muscles, tissues, and organic matter. I am male because, well, I say so. There needs to be no deeper explanation than that. When you proclaim that I am ‘biologically female’ you are not only stripping me of my identity, you are once again, removing my bodily autonomy. Once again, you are asserting that you, someone who has most likely never seen me stripped down, know me better than I do. You are asserting that you know more about my biology than I do, someone who has experienced it for 22 years. Someone who has experienced the changes of my biology over the course of 22 years in all its horrors, surprises, happiness, and sorrow. You are proclaiming that you, someone who has not experienced these deeply personal things, know them better than I do.

Any other assertions about my body, are not only incorrect, but cissexist in nature. People do not question how biological cis people are, nor do they question how natural their identities. They do not adhere or question their assertions that they are 100% biologically male or female, nor do they question that they are male or female-bodied. They simply accept these as truths. However, when a trans* person makes the same distinctions about their bodies, the bodies they’ve lived their lives in, the bodies that often have caused great strife, they are ridiculed. They are taken apart, and stripped naked. Displayed as live specimens and labeled as others see fit. They are stripped of their bodily rights to their own bodies, their own identities. Trans* people are not afforded the basic belief in their own lived experiences. In fact, they are scrutinized. No matter how many years they have lived on this planet, in these bodies they possess, it is never enough. According to our oppressors, no matter how much time we spend in our lives, we can never truly know ourselves. It is impossible, according to society, for a trans* person to have bodily autonomy that exists outside of the assumptions of others.

22 years I have spent on this planet. 22 years I have spent occupying space in this body. 22 years I have spent, existing and living. 22 years, over two decades, have been spent learning the lines on my hands, the way my hair falls, how my body moves, what causes my pain, and what causes me pleasure. 22 years have been spent exploring my body, my mind, and the world it inhabits. When I say I am male-bodied, that I am 100% biologically male, that my vagina and breasts are male, you better believe what I am saying, for I am the dictator of my body. While in the span of things, 22 years may not be that long, in fact, only a fraction of the typical human life expectancy, it is my entire life that I have spent with my body. I am the one who knows my body and what it is, you are not.

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