Celebrating My Trans Body and the Joy of Transition: While lawmakers attempt to strip away my identity, I respond with radical acts of self-love for myself and my community.

AuthorBrinks, L.

As a child of the Midwest, summer was always my favorite time to exist outdoors--when the grass was green and the air was hot, just before the late summer humidity made it too thick to breathe. Growing up, I did not have the vocabulary to describe how I felt about my gender. I knew I struggled to connect with many other girls my age and felt safest in striped T-shirts and cutoff jeans. I did not know any genderqueer adults or that gender diversity existed. I struggled to feel a sense of belonging and carried a lot of fear and anxiety about my body and how I was perceived.

I often tried to hide my body under baggier shirts and sweatshirts. All this effort and anxiety was because I did not want to give people a reason to see me as a girl. I daydreamed about becoming a question mark, something liminal and undefined in existence--just myself. I was dreaming about being genderqueer, but I had no one to share this with.

I grew up kissing frogs and catching turtles by ponds, but never expected them to transform magically into a prince or princess. Instead, I always dreamed of being transformed into the prince, or being the husband when playing house. I was afraid of the changes happening to my body--puberty terrified me. But because I had no one to explain gender dysphoria, I had yet to understand why it bothered me. In particular, no adults in my life talked to me about gender and feelings, and I was left to figure out many things on my own, unsuccessfully.

How can I explain that growing up in a body, and being assigned a gender you have no say in, is like being admitted to a carnival fun house of mirrors with no exit? As a child, it is horrifying to watch your body bend and curve in ways you prayed it never would, all the time wishing you could escape that body.

It is impossible to feel safe and comfortable when the people around you continuously celebrate the very changes you detest the most about yourself. Being a genderqueer child can be a lonely existence--and that loneliness kills. The Trevor Project, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ+ youth, estimates that every forty-five seconds, a queer child between the ages of thirteen and twenty-four attempts suicide in the United States. What cisgender people take for granted is how transphobia is built into our society, and how genderqueer children are born, and grow up every day, wondering why they do not fit in or what is wrong with them.

This is why conservative...

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