I am dysphoric as fuck today on so many axes.
One of the things that wrecks me emotionally is that I can no longer just identify as “athlete”. People look at me and they don’t see a perfectly-functioning machine that’s difficult to gender, they see a sad-looking woman in a wheelchair. Or rather, they see a sad looking ex-woman in a wheelchair, because of course cripples don’t have gender, they’re just objects to pity.
If there’s one thing that I’ve known since I was very young, it’s that I wasn’t a girl and wasn’t going to grow up to be a woman. Puberty was great – I shot up to six foot tall (before the scoliosis set in), put on muscle like I was being raised for meat, and was androgynous in ways that only a lanky metalhead can be. The same still, broadly, applies, but now I approach the world from a position of either walking with a cane, or being in a wheelchair. And one thing that weakness does is that it feminises the subject. Being treated, for the first time ever, as female is horrible. Having it even more closely tied in to a much older model of femininity (The idea that I’ve rambled about before of there being a almost a position in society for a disabled woman, since we understand the idea of a kept woman in the way that we don’t culturally understand a kept man) is even worse. By nature, I’m the breadwinner-y type. I like to work hard, give my friends presents, be always up for last-minute travel and unlikely heroism. Being stuffed into the mould of broken birdie, pet, fragile girl that people feel sorry for or fetishise for her physical frailty – It’s destabilising.
I was content enough with having a basically-female body, when it was the body of a basically-female nightclub doorman who boxed bareknuckle, had represented the country or county at more than one sport, did manual labour (and later on worked long hours as a lab tech, which is still fairly physical), and was usually mentally sorted by bystanders into “male” or “livestock” rather than “woman” or “ornament” or, worst of all “tragedy” as I am now.
Possibly, in short, I’m feeling insecure in my masculinity for the first time in my life, and I’m resenting that when some people get to have bodies that not only comfortably match their gender identity but also function really well, I get neither.