trans feminine people should not have to remove our body hair in order to have our genders respected. trans feminine people should not have to remove our body hair in order to be safe. the thing about gender norms is that they are always aspirational. almost no one actually looks like normative men or women. but norms circulate at a symbolic level that doesn’t take our lived experiences into consideration. people of all genders have body hair. there are women with lots of it and men with none of it. we continually rehearse the idea that “women are less hairy,” despite all of the evidence against it. this is because norms do not care about evidence, about the lives we are living, the bodies we inhabit. norms exist to make us feel as if we are never enough. we naturalize our lack, become fluent in it like it’s a language we have always know. but we are not lacking, we just are. .
the gender binary is a particularly insidious norm: we exaggerate differences between men & women & ignore differences among them in order to fabricate the myth of binary gender/sexual difference. the stakes of this are particularly high for transfeminine people. our bodies are where they come to draw the lines of binary gender, we are collateral for this project. when i first started my transition people told me i shouldn’t even try because i was so hairy that no one would believe me. but here’s the thing: there *are* hairy women & feminine people. there always have been & there always will be. trans feminine people are held to an impossible standard to *prove* gender, meaning: we are often coerced into having to adopt the most normative (read: white) standards of beauty & gender in order to be believed for what we already are. in this way it feels impossible to own our own bodies when we know that our appearances will be scrutinized to confirm their norms. every day i remind myself that body hair has no gender. the gender binary — a social & political construction — dupes us into believing that it does. this harms everyone, but especially us. especially us 💔
art by @ximeco.art