#Upworthy is sharing this photo-shoot with tags like #trans and #pride, and I have a problem with it. Mainly its out of protectiveness for those who I know are transgender and will see those photos and be made to feel ashamed of their bodies even MORE. (First off, I want to say I don’t mean to dis any trans bros who have gone on hormones or had surgeries. that is entirely your right, and I am not opposed to it. I am, however, opposed to it being a standard to which every up and coming transyouth is expected to comply. and it is a standard that is catching like fire…..a big problem.)
The article claims “#Sexiness is not about our body parts. It’s not our identity.”, but they are only talking about not having penises. YET it is obvious -that photo shoot is ONLY about body parts- its about their white, muscular, “sexy”, model style limbs, hair, faces, and bodies. Its about how they LOOK like men that people can drool over. its about their naked bodies. period.
If it wasn’t about bodies they would have shown #transmen who haven’t transitioned, they would have shown the deformed bodies, they would have shown breasts, smoothe cheeks, the chubby arms and thighs…..they would have shown bodies parts in clothes too, and said “see, you can be trans, and look like this or that and it doesn’t matter, because its about your identity”.
but they didn’t- and it is going viral among people who look at trans people and decide- only AFTER seeing these spectacular pictures – that “yeah I guess they ARE men, just look at that hair”. the models are forgetting that transpeople of all races grow up seeing white models their whole life, feeling like THAT is what makes a man, a man. then they show the same bodies and claim “this is not what makes us men”?? I am sorry, but that is difficult to take seriously.
I want to see something for untrainsitioned men, and trans people (esp of color). what they did- just the way they did it- risks making every young transman who sees those photos pine for surgery and pine for hormones…it encourages feelings of shame, like they are expected to hide more and more…to be “stealth”…to disappear…
I can understand the sentiment that because you don’t have a penis you are never manly enough for some, and sharing a photo like that seems to scream “I am manly! I am manly!” but lets face it, your manliness in this photo is expressly derived from the hormones you are taking, and the exercise, the symmetry, the surgery, and the white, male, cis standards of beauty to which all men are expected to aspire.
that photo shoot just reinforces comments to trans people asking “when will you “transition””, “when will you get surgery”, “when will you go through whatever you need to do to come out looking like these sexy models so that everyone can forget you are trans and feel comfortable with your manly bodies”, “when are you going to be someone else so I can feel okay calling you a man?”
i could go on and on…its really unnerving to see something like that go viral. that does not represent me. I once thought it did… I once cashed in all the money I had, and contemplated taking out a giant loan to get surgery…I once wondered who I could buy hormones from on the DL.
But I now know better. i want to feel proud of my body, of my identity even without a crowd of women drooling over my naked body. i want ALL transmen to feel manly even those without beards, without a chiseled jaws and bulging pecs…I want them to feel good, and every kid deserves to feel good about themselves…
it is OPPRESSION when we are coerced into changing ourselves in order to be accepted. it is OPPRESSION when we have to expect to see our bodies looking like white athletic models in order to finally say “its not about our bodies.” If that is what it takes to finally realise we are sexy, then that is not the #transpride I want.
where are the brown and black bodies, with breasts, with lumpy thighs, with chubby cheeks, with clothes……would that have gone viral? transkids will be wondering, do you care about me even if I don’t look like them?
and so, here is my incredibly low budget photo shoot of me, in the same pose, fully clothed because I’m Muslim, covering my privates. I am #proud of my body, untransitioned, with breasts and all. and I can honestly say: “#Sexiness is not about our body parts. It’s not our identity.”
I am a man…a sexy man. I don’t need a penis, testicles, or hormones to know that. If I choose to go on hormones or have surgery, it won’t because because I need the world to know I am a man.