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Let’s get real vulnerable and talk about something intimate – gender. I want to talk about how fatphobia and oppression affected my gender discovery.
Trapped in the wrong body?
The media does a great job of showing one trans story line.
Trans characters in media are always presented as being “trapped in the wrong body,” as a kid. I believe that is the story for many trans folks. It also happens to be the most digestible narrative for the cisgender majority. Which leaves very little room for other stories.
Plot twist! Many people’s journey’s are very different than that.
Fat first, gender second
When you live in a fatphobic world that forces you to distance yourself from your body all of your life, you may not be super in touch with or think about gender.
I was always the fat kid. I did my best to separate myself from my body. I’d avoid situations that would remind me I lived in a world that wasn’t made for me. I avoided mirrors a lot as a teenager. I quit sports. When it came to shoes, I always made sure I had slip ons available so that I wouldn’t have to struggle to bend down and tie them in public. I worked my way around having to participate in gym class when it came time for the swimming session. I wanted to avoid ridicule at all costs.
Being a “tomboy,” I finally felt comfortable wearing “men’s” clothing as a teen. Gender dysphoria came up but I didn’t understand the feelings. I was too preoccupied with trying to shrink myself to explore any feelings about gender. I was super uncomfortable in my skin. But I’d shove any feelings about gender way deep down below the shame of my fat body.
It was like going to war every day with the fatphobic world only to come home at night and be at war with myself. I distanced myself from my fat body and any feelings attached to how I really wanted to present myself, for moments of peace. For survival.
Body love… and hate
In my early 20’s I found body positivity. I started seeing images of fat bodies being associated with love, pride, and beauty. I finally found positive representation of bodies that looked like my own and sought out even more. I began seeing my fatness differently.
The peace I felt about the shape and size of my body allowed me the space to start experimenting with my gender. I found myself seeking representation of trans men on YouTube.
Every six months or so I would spend hours watching time lapses of transition updates from these beautiful thin white masculine dudes. I’d then have a complete meltdown and shove those feelings back into the box they came from. I knew my fat body would never look like that.
Watch 12 videos. Panic. Cry. Sit in the dysphoria. Hate every inch of my fat body for not allowing me the freedom to dream. Are there fat trans men? Do fat trans people exist?
It sounds strange now, to admit that I felt safer dealing with the extreme dysphoria rather than living authentically. But I didn’t know what was authentic to me. I didn’t know where I belonged. Even at my most accepting of my fat body, my trans identity still felt shaky. I felt so unsure of the effects of medical transition and if that was something I really wanted. Of course this made me question…
Am I Really Trans Enough?
So many trans people feel obligated to choose one gender in the binary and then medically transition. Which can be super harmful for people who are still trying to figure out where they fit. Toxic masculinity is gross and yet I think a lot of us masculine of center folks feel pressure to conform. And perform. That didn’t feel quite right for me. This is when I discovered non-binary identities.
I started a new job where queer identities were celebrated and it allowed me to play around with my pronouns. I experimented with neutral pronouns (they/them) and felt something shocking – relief. Finally, I found where I belonged. And that just happened to be somewhere in the grey.
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Being Comfy Fat means taking risks. It means being authentically YOU in a world that wishes you’d change or wants to challenge you about who you are. I want you all to know who I am. I want to be bold and dare to be me. I want others to do the same. I am fat. I am trans. I am non-binary. I experience dysphoria sometimes. I am an activist. Im queer. And Im committed to celebrating as many fat experiences as I can. Remember to use #comfyfat so that I can share your beautiful stories on the page. Thanks for supporting Comfy Fat folks💕 #psblogger #plussizeblogger #thisiswhattranslookslike #thisiswhatnonbinarylookslike #fatpositive #bopowarrior #fatshion
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Living outside the binary
As I start exposing myself to different political and social climates – or rather – expose them to me, I’m learning how hard it is to explain something I don’t understand myself. I’m not trapped in the wrong body. This body is my home and I’m finally happy to live here. My experience with my fat body and learning how to navigate the world with it led me to discover my gender.
So, I’m non-binary. AND SUPER HAPPY!
I’m a masculine person who wears a bra every day. I hang with the boys at the barbershop after buying jeans from a women’s clothing store. I’m loving and strong. I know how to express my boundaries. I’m smart. And funny. And I love daydreaming about what my wedding will be like. None of these things are exclusively male or female – and neither am I.
I want us all to feel free to look within ourselves and find our truth. I want us all to feel beautiful and connected to our authenticity so we can explore and evolve. All of our journies have different intersections. What are yours?