The Body Abject

Horror fiction, ghost stories, monster movies: they’ve always summed up my uncomfortable relationship with my body and my gender in ways that other genres don’t quite touch on. In horror bodies are shown as they can be: strange, often gross, malleable, fascinating, uncontrollable, constricted by the pressure of meeting arbitrary rules and standards where a misstep can seem, or can be, dangerous. Queer is coded as uncanny, seductive, violent. Under these circumstances a ghost disassociates; a monster lashes out; a person turns inwards or outwards but always away from themselves.

Rhiannon R-S is a nonbinary lesbian illustrator, writer, and print consultant. For more writing & art, visit rhiannonrs.com. For shitposts & conversation, visit @charibdys on Twitter.

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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*.

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