Content Warning: Explicit Language
“There’s so much fear that’s attached to being femme, especially in a body that is perceived as male.” - Dante
I’m a tall nigga. I have a penis. The hair on my face, body, especially legs, grows fast as fuck and worst of all, I’m allergic to razors. I can barely shave because of how many razor burns I’ll get, and three layers of Nair can’t get rid of the hair that will grow back just as fast the next day. When I walk out of my room, I’m scared: Did I forget to shave my mustache again? Is my bulge too prominent? Do I look too angry again? The way my body is read by my larger society is stressful as fuck. Entering the train is one of the scariest things in the world.
As I travel to work, the second I walk into the 96th street 2-train my face is turned down, eyes up, menacingly in hope that people will be scared enough of me that they won’t stare too long. It never works. It’s a cycle,really. A woman with her child will look at me and not care that her child has been staring just a bit too long. I’ll pull my jacket down by its pockets over the top of my pants in hopes I’m not showing any traces of my penis. I make eye contact with about 10 different people who all consume me. I’m terrified that their looks will turn into actions, leaving me harassed and beaten. On the surface though, I’m just… menacing. Face down, eyes up.
I’ve always wondered if that has made me unattractive. The other day my mother told me I’m getting creases by my eyebrows and on my forehead and she asked me if I was stressed. No, i’m not stressed. I’m scared. Sometimes my eyebrows hurt from holding them furrowed for so long. What does it mean that 17 years from now these creases would have gotten so deep and prominent that my face will be permanently marked. That is, if I’m alive; after all the average Trans-Black Womxn lives only up to 35 years old.
“I’m always afraid of other people’s reactions. The people I’m attracted to find me scary. I mean, I would find me scary too. I disrupt every space I inhabit. I’m loud, tall, unapologetic, Black, “a ‘man’ in women’s clothing.”
I’m always afraid of other people’s reactions. The people I’m attracted to find me scary. I mean, I would find me scary too. I disrupt every space I inhabit. I’m loud, tall, unapologetic, Black, “a ‘man’ in women’s clothing.” When you look at me I am symbolic of what you were told not to be, not to love, so people fear me. They are scared. I am scared too, scared of their fear. Their fear makes me quiver, want to take up less space, contract my body in a way where I no longer exist. No matter what I stitch to my body, you won’t read me as femme, as a womxn, because at the end of the day all you will notice is the bulge in my pants, the stubble on face and my broader shoulders.
Even romantically, Queer men, expect men, and straight men expect cis-women. There is no space for Black Trans-Womxn. I have been forced to realize that the person who’ll love me will simply be an exception; someone who oddly isn’t scared of me.
Recently I realized that every person I have engaged with sexually has been a gay man, who thought I was a man. It seems like every interaction I’ve had with folks (specifically men) who saw me as my complete self ended with me, hurt, in fear and angry at myself.
I’ve always wondered what it would look like to be caressed, loved, and touched by someone who understood the complete complexities of who I am. To be touched, as a womxn. To feel visible in a way that’s tender.
And I’m sorry to be sharing this narrative centering men because I absolutely cherish the magic I create and witness with other Black Womxn, Non-Binary Folks, and Two-Spirit folks.
The truth is, I think my body is always trying to balance intimacy, sexuality, and arrogance all at once. Sometimes, I find myself wanting people to see a bit of a bulge in my pants because it shows that I do have something to offer. And I completely understand that this is coming from the destructive narratives that good sex is synonymous with having a big dick. Because I know that straight men won’t like me, the nearest connection I have to my sexuality becomes appealing to gay men, showing them that I am “man” enough (at least physically) in order to engage with them sexually. A part of me likes knowing that I have a bigger penis than other men on this campus and that I’m taller than a lot of men. Sometimes I wonder if deep down, I believe that as a woman I play the part of “man” better than they do (fucked up isn’t it).
When I tell y’all that my body is mad complex and life is such a rollercoaster as a Black Trans-Womxn, please believe it!
“There’s so much fear that’s attached to being femme, especially in a body that is perceived as male.” -Dante