I just read a really interesting, thought provoking, and humane article An Open Letter to My Fat Father, From His Fat, Trans Son: Or, Fatherhood, Fatness, and Family. It is about coming to accept ones weight. But there is a wrinkle: it is by a transgender man.
On one level, I identify with the transgender community. I don’t feel comfortable in my own body—I never have. I wish that there were such an easy solution to my problem as changing my sex. The fact that the very idea seems ridiculous to me makes me think that this is not the primary issue that transgender people face.
All my life, I have battled gender identities. This was not an internal struggle. I’ve never felt particular gender bound. I’m very comfortable with my natural desires which are hardly typically male. On the other hand, although most men see me as effeminate, gay, or nonexistent, in an anthropological sense, I am very male. In fact, when I get manly men alone, I am often shocked by their girly underside. It seems that I am different only in lacking any respect for gender roles. I am a real man because I am a real man.
I would go further. I tend to find manly men pathetic. As I’ve gotten older, I can see very clearly how cowardly they are. Unlike me, they aren’t sure that they are “real” men. They’re like closeted gays, afraid that their friends will think less of them because they like soap operas or knitting. And that’s no way to live.
How is it to feel so completely wrong that you go under the knife? I have no idea. I won’t go to the doctor until my blood pressure is down to 60 over 40. So I’ve got to believe that transgender people are very serious about this. They deserve whatever can be done to feel normal (and not, as is stated in the article, just those who can afford it).
Regardless of this, I can’t but believe that the cultural norms that teach men that they can’t knit are the also partly to blame for people who feel they are the wrong gender. But if only for the male knitting fans, we need to get past our gender restrictions as much as we do our fat hatred.