I Am More Than My Body

Disclaimer: I have no problem with the men who were featured in the BuzzFeed article in question. Let’s not get it twisted, okay? Also, these opinions are my own, not the transgender community as a whole.

Representation in the media is very important for transgender folks like myself. Media can show the world that we are just like them human beings. Granted, each person is unique in their own way but we are still essentially human beings that deserve the same rights and privileges as any cisgender person. And that is the message transmen, who are out and proud, want to send to the world and do whatever it takes to make it known. We should strive to, however, not just use ANY outlet for exposure and settle for scraps.

While representation and media coverage can be powerful tools for social change, it can also be detrimental and only giving way to a certain kind of representation: hypermasculine, muscular, post-top surgery and conventionally attractive transmen. It basically gives the notion to fellow brothers in our community that we are only considered real men if we succumb ourselves to toxic masculinity and police others to do the same. Which is no good because feminine and nonbinary transmen exist; they are and should be considered men in the eyes of everyone else and not feel pressured to be someone they are not.

I bring all this up because there was a BuzzFeed article published by a transgender woman called “26 Transguys Who Will Make You Thirsty”. The drama surrounding the article notwithstanding, the title itself is significantly problematic because I’d like to think that we are more than our bodies; we are not here to be anyone’s fetish. There’s simply no excuse for such a title. There are numerous alternatives that this author could have used instead like how FTM Magazine has named their recent article “16 Trans Men Who Don’t Own A Shirt” for example. They even had a paragraph at the end talking about getting permission, by the way. The title is simple, to the point and not objectifying anyone in any way, shape or form. We have lives, careers and interests that go beyond the physical realm. There’s no reason, in this day and age, to have articles where we are on display and used for shock value. It is not a compliment hearing people say “Oh, I never would have guessed this person was born female!”.

I’m all for the “Trans Is Beautiful” movement because we are beautiful souls but I don’t want to settle for any kind of representation just to have us out there. There should not be just one socially acceptable kind of transgender person. We are not here for society’s comfort. We are not here to subscribe to society’s outdated gender roles. We are here to be free and have the chance to be our authentic selves. We aren’t transitioning to be what everyone else wants us to be.

To my fellow transgender brothers and sisters: if no one has told you this yet, let me be the one to say that you are beautiful, you are loved and that your feelings are valid. You are enough.

12 thoughts on “I Am More Than My Body

  1. It is sad; disturbing title. I don’t get the whole idea that a person needs to be judged by their body, but it happens everywhere. I’ve had students tell me they need to go on a diet and have plastic surgery in elementary school. That article, whether a transgender article or not is one of the reasons people have such poor self-esteem. It would be nice to live in a world where people were judged based on their energy form rather than the physical (their personality, for lack of a better term), kind of how Dustin Hoffman had his little epiphany during the making of Tootsie. Until that time, all we humans can do is try to spread the message that humans, all humans, are beautiful. The body is just a package, the soul is the important part.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Sharing this with my Facebook Trans Men over 40 Group. – As someone who had to curtail medical transition, I find it painful sometimes to see all that hyper-masculine transman media coverage. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It is frustrating that there is sort of an implied standard. When trying to help my son get a more masculine haircut and figure out a binder I kept running across articles insisting that a transman shouldn’t settle for looking like a schlub…basically he needed to wear tailored Ellen style shirts and a vest. Not helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sending such an important message. We need answer to no-one. We are, each of us, just the person we are. Some will wish to transition, some will not … and that is fine. The “person” is not defined by anyone other than themself.
    Linked back to this post from my “Quotes” page.

    Liked by 1 person

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