‘Being Fat and Looking Trans’

There’s a lot of hating on and judgement of ‘trans guy’ aesthetics and fashion, both on the internet and in real life, and I’m not sure that a lot of it is very well thought out. Firstly, I understand the critique of a particular dapper, vintage-esqe styling of masculinity that harks back to some really problematic gender roles and violent masculinity bullshit, because that is valid and important.

But there’s a reason that some of these things have become cliche – because embodiment is hard for us. Bow ties are not just about a problematic masculinity, or about ‘looking trans’, but they draw attention to our bodies in a different way. They are reshaping. A lot of critique of this kind of fashion and styling comes from skinny folks, and I understand why – their bodies are more easily androgynous, more easy to put in any gendered clothing in a passable way.

It is possible that they don’t understand that wearing a bow tie allows my fat trans body to pass way better than wearing a tie would because of the shape of my body. I would love to be able to wear ties, but right now that is an avenue of dysphoria-inducing nightmares that I simply cannot walk down. And I don’t have to.

I do not wear clothes out of a desire to be read as trans, or be the trans-iest, and I suspect many other people don’t either. However, I also don’t don’t pass consistently and that is going to be a fact of my life for a very long time, so if I’m read as trans…well, okay. I am. I’m not ashamed of it. After all, there’s not a lot I can do about it.

But just because you are lucky enough to be thin, or have the type of body that passes easily in any clothes, or are later in your transition, does not mean that it’s okay for you to hate on others for ‘looking trans’. Because I’ll let you in on a secret – WE KNOW! We know we look trans, or queer, or something-elsey, and for some of us that’s awesome, and for others it’s devastating but for all of us it is a simple, immutable fact. That is how we look.

So when we’re doing our best to be in the world, or at a fancy party, or chilling in the park, don’t judge us for looking trans-er than you, because that makes you a tool. Instead, reflect inwards to what makes you so uncomfortable about seeing other trans people, and spend less time worrying about the bodies and genders of strangers!


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