A female-to-male transgender friend is undergoing top surgery this week and this huge change towards becoming his most authentic self raises a lot of my own issues.
Breasts are a big issue for women and trans men who identify differently along the gender spectrum. Breasts are that marker that make us undeniably female. And that is difficult if you’re gender non-conforming, or transgender, especially if you have large breasts.
His pending surgery reminds me of my breast journey and how it continues: how far I’ve come and how far I have to go.
Having realised that I’m genderqueer/non-binary/gendernonconforming two years after my breast reduction, my relationship with my breasts continues to be an uneasy, uncomfortable cohabitation. They’re the roommate I have to put up with because they share my personal space.
I tolerate their annoying habits: the way they interfere with how I’d like to be perceived physically, how I’d like to be perceived as more androgynous, how I’d prefer to have pecs instead of breasts.
But like a roommate, I also want to show them respect, see if there’s an easier way for us to cohabit by making compromises: not being transgender means that I need to work out a way of coming to terms with the femininity that my breasts symbolise so unsubtly – I realise that being genderqueer means balancing the best of my masculine and feminine traits, physical, emotional and spiritual.
So, for now, my compromise with this roommate is to reach my optimum body weight and then to renegotiate the Roommate Agreement.
This compromise includes a putting aside of my body issues and my discomfort, choosing to focus instead on taking care of my body. Until the renegotiation I will feed myself nutritionally instead of from a place of loathing and self-destruction, and I will strengthen and shape my body through exercising it every day, feeling and enjoying and inhabiting my body instead of trying to escape it.
This plan is going really well so far and I am enjoying what my stronger, fitter and well-fed body can do, and I love the feeling of being able to use my body for self-love and self-care instead of dragging it along with me like some unwelcome acquaintance.
My journey pre- to post- breast reduction so far: Those of you with large breasts or any body issue will relate to this: https://germainedelarch.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/refiguring-germaine-my-physical-transition-lettersfromselvespastsed/