We assert our identities in varied ways,i believe there is no direct correlation between our body parts and our gender identity.As Transgender people our narratives about existing or no existing relationships with our bodies are diverse, in the same vein, there is no single, right or wrong way to transition. I wanted to find out how other transgender persons thoughts on bodies, Below you will discover profound, inspiring and powerful experiences of pain, love and appreciation.
I think that this body was given to me as a canvas, with each day I am mindful of my choice of paint, colours and strokes
My names are Aldon Gorata Nzimande. I am a fitness fanatic and I work as a personal trainer at the moment although my long-term aspirations are to own a trans friendly, LGBTI inclusive fitness club franchise all over the world. I am a 23-year-old man from South Africa.
My Body my Politics
The body I used to have was just a frame, a container. I had no love for my body, until recently when it started taking shape and I am beginning to see, feel and live as the man I have always dreamed I was. I’ve had my chest surgery and since started my therapy. Before I transitioned, I always felt inside my body was an aggressive fire which was burning and wanted to escape. Now the body I have is becoming a reflection of how I have always wanted to look on the outside. I think that this body was given to me as a canvas, with each day I am mindful of my choice of paint, colours and strokes. With my flaws and all, this body means so much to me. I maintain a positive attitude and maintain my optimism as I continue working tirelessly to sculpt my body to get fit, for my own wellness, contentment and of course aesthetic appearance.
Chest (Surgery was on 14/11/2014)
I know you cannot wait to get to paradise, to meet the man you truly are. I would just like to encourage you to never ever give up. It will happen for you. Don’t stop praying, exercising and eating right. Your day is coming.
My body is my art, I have to modify it my own style so that it reflects the woman i feel i am.
T fab is my name. I am a Gender & Human Rights Activist. I volunteer at an LGBTI organisation. I hope to complete my Diploma studies in Cutting & Designing Fashion, currently I am also working on establishing an youth arts Centre in my community. I am transgender woman from Zimbabwe.
My Body My politics
For a long time I used to feel so helpless about my body, until I realised I can do something in the meantime. My body is my art, I have to modify it my own style so that it reflects the woman I am, that makes me feel sexy. I am slim and tall. I like my body,however, there are some parts i wish to change so they can be insync with my mind and feelings as a woman. I believe once I get my sex change I can give Tyra and Beyoncé a run for their money. I have a diva personality, though society puts a male tag on my body, I know I am a woman. Looking at my body without some of the feminine features such as breasts gives me the feeling that I am a Harley Davidson motorbike without its handles.
I guess I have a love & hate relationship with my body. I spend hours on the mirror working on my body. I work on it so it reflects the pure priceless work of art that can make a giraffe jealous.. but I m also sad when I look below the waist only to see the ‘sir’ occupying the ‘madams’ place. For me the mirror has become both a friend and a foe.
If there is one thing I really love on my body, its my eyes. I believe they are the best feature God created on me. I love them because they have seen and know all my struggles. They don’t judge me, they embrace and see that I am a woman even though some think i am ‘male’.
Always explore yourself and understand the self. Don’t be afraid to get lost, because, it’s only after you’ve been lost that you will find your way. It’s only after you’ve cried that you can appreciate laughter. Change what you don’t’ like about yourself and appreciate what you love, it’s all part of what makes you. Don’t be hazardous to yourself!
Accepting and expressing myself in a manner that makes me feel comfortable, is my way of reclaiming my gender identity
My name is Tee P I work in the hospitality and catering industry and currently furthering my studies in the same field. I am a proud Zimbabwean transman.
I live in a country where there is so much homophobia and transphobia. Society places so many labels and expectations on our bodies. Reflecting on the way I was socialised, I see how I have been burdened, oppressed and forced to conform to norms and laws that suppress my identity.
My body, my Politics
To reclaim my identity, I have come to accept my gender identity and i express myself in a way that makes me feel comfortable. My clothing, interactions and behaviour reflect how I define my own gender as a transman.
I have an average body; I am slim and tall. I consider myself a charming, handsome sexy man. I am sure any woman would crawl over a kilometre of broken glass just to lay hands on me.
I love my body, I take care of my body the best way I can. I have an athletic built thanks to years of contact sport. The only thing that frustrates me about my body are the female features, sometimes this affects my confidence because I know they don’t belong there. I am tempted to panel beat my chest until its flat, I get helpless just knowing in place of the ‘cookie’ should be ‘two peas and a carrot’. I don’t let this weigh me down, so I always try to give my body a masculine look in a way that makes me feel good about myself while I wait for medical transition in the future.
Grasp the essence of accepting and understanding your preferences.Value your own but also learn from others’ experiences because you will probably get something out of it. Have confidence in your desires as you discover yourself, it’s a process and remember, the Journey of a mile begins with a single step forward.
I believe I am more than just my body. I am a human being, a living warrior who just happens to disagree with the tag society puts on my body
I am Tshepo Seoketsi Mooketsi, a first year Communication Sciences and Anthropology student at a South African University. I am an LGBTIQ Activist and a Trans feminist who hails from Schweizer Reneke a small rural town in the North West Province of South Africa. I am a 24 year old transwoman of colour.
My Body, My politics
I believe I am more than just my body. I am a human being , a living warrior who just happens to disagree with the tag society puts on my body. I believe in my bodily autonomy and i no longer live according to the societal fixed norms. I use my body to express my feelings about my own gender.
I personally feel the term ’trapped’ distorts my reality. My body is my platform where i can freely express myself. I refuse to conform to ideals which, denigrate and oppress me. I take charge of my life and my body. I wear and walk and talk in the manner i deem fit.
I am conscious about how i present my body because i want it to reflect the person i am. I adorn my body, so that it reflects my feelings about myself. This boosts my confidence as i have grown to appreciate the smallest to the largest details about it. Yes! There is no such thing, as a perfect body, but making my body feel comfortable, taking ownership and appreciating it counts.
I believe my body makes me unique and sets me apart from others,it immediately tells my story the minute I step on the streets or enter a room.
In my process of self-discovery as i began to embrace my gender identity, i experienced transphobia from the LGB to the church community. This did not break me, instead it motivated me to change these negative attitudes and speak out against violations and injustices. Now i know that loving myself and asserting my gender identity is a political statement.
I never used to appreciate my legs, my late Grandmother made me appreciate their beauty. Now I gladly show off, I love my legs, they are fit they take me places and they command attention.
The heinous culture of hate (homo and transphobia) needs to be confronted head-on. Change begins with you. I know it is not easy, but waking up and embracing yourself should give you more reason to put on your Stilettos or All-Star converse and take charge of your life. Do it for yourself, do it for others. Of course there are days when you will cry yourself to sleep but remember it get’s better.
Stories compiled and edited by Miles Rutendo Tanhira