You know what the worst thing about being trans is, hands down?
The rage. And I’m not talking about ‘roid rage–I’m not on T. I’m talking screaming, churning, poker-hot organic rage that I have been FUCKED so righteously and so, so permanently by nature.
I got a few paltry handouts from the Great Body Part Mechanic in the Sky. I have broad shoulders, fat settles on my belly instead of my thighs, and I have narrow hips. Thanks, GBPMITS. But, the thing is, EVERYTHING ELSE IS FUCKING WRONG.
I’m 5’2″. I’m a soprano. I have a feminine face, delicate hands and small feet. I have a soft, round ass and when I hit puberty, I discovered I’d inherited the giant boobs gene.* Most of the time I just resign myself to this. People mis-gender me all the time, which is grating, but I’m usually able to move on.
Unfortunately, there are other things, deeper things, that are wrong. Like my reproductive system.
When I got my period, at eleven (thanks again, GBPMITS, you malicious fucker), I discovered that my female hormones were just about as excited about menstruation as they could possibly be. I have had horrible cramps for thirteen years. I’ve taken enough Advil, in order to be able to function, that at twenty-four I probably have the liver of a middle-aged alcoholic. I bleed like it’s my job. And my periods last forever.
I used to think this was something I’d just have to deal with, like my small hands and long eyelashes. But then, my psychiatrist (because in addition to being trans, I’m also crazybones bananapants, BECAUSE THAT’S FAIR) prescribed me birth control pills. She had correctly identified that I’m craziest in the weeks before and after my period. So I got to take BC for “continuous suppression of periods.”
Cue choruses of angels! My period symptoms were bad, and it was nice to be rid of them, but what really thrilled me was that the part of me that was most obviously feminine, the part that enthusiastically reminded me every month that I! Was! A! Woman! And! Wasn’t! That! Great?! was GONE. I mean, I still have to deal with the fact that I got the wrong set of reproductive organs–can’t get my partner pregnant–but at least I didn’t have the timely, painful, bloody reminder that I am Artemis, not Apollo.
Until, all of a sudden, it came back.
It started with a lot of breakthrough bleeding. I’m talking three months of bleeding every day. I didn’t love that, but it wasn’t terrible, and I knew to expect it. So I gritted my teeth, rinsed out my boxer briefs, and kept on keeping on. And then I got a full-blown, balls out, original gangster menstrual attack. And it lasted for nine days. Yesterday, I discovered that I’d gotten my period again when I bled through my shorts and stained my fucking couch.
Today I leave for my favorite place in the world, a beautiful beach town on Long Island, where I’ve gone every summer since I was a child. And instead of looking forward to swimming and wading in the shimmering bay, and kayaking to the wild bird sanctuary, I’ll spend a week being moody, suffering with terrible cramps, and best of all, bleeding constantly.
When that dawned on me this afternoon, I walked out of my office because I thought I was going to throw up, I was so angry. I shouldn’t even have a period. I shouldn’t have been born with a uterus at all. And certainly once I started taking birth control for the express purpose of not having periods anymore, I should not be bleeding like a dying pig. But I have no one to yell at. There’s nothing I can do. I have to suffer in this body that gleefully rejects any attempt to correct the monumental fuck-ups that happened while I was in utero. I have to wait around, for as long as it takes, until my body decides to stop torturing me with blatant evidence of my double X chromosome.
I know a lot of trans people who are at peace with their bodies, despite their bodies being different in some ways than they might have wanted or expected. I admire them. I envy them. But I can’t help but walk around with rage boiling just under the surface, every second. Rage because I was cheated out of the right body, rage because there’s only a few problems modern medicine is advanced enough to fix, and rage at my body for making it impossible for me to make even the small changes I can.
*I had top surgery to correct this problem thank fucking god.