Histori Personale

Life in a woman's body. I use it and shape it as I see fit

Life in a woman's body. I use it and shape it as I see fit
Juno Datson is a writer and activist

When I was 16, I asked my best friend, Kerry, why she was so pierced. I was young, naive and from the suburbs, so I thought that being beautiful has nothing to do with what you put on your face, maybe even influenced by my mother. Kerry told me she did not think her body was arbitrary. At the time, I did not know exactly what "arbitrary" meant, but I did not want to look ignorant, so I waited until I got home to ask for its meaning.

Most of our body is arbitrary. From birth, we acquire the body and the features that accompany us throughout life: eye color, hair color, skin color. We do not decide on these things the moment we are born, but, talking to my friend, I realized that subsequent changes are in our hands. We can go against what is decided for us. My first challenging act was in 1999, when I dyed my hair part by part.

Later, in my 20s, unhappy with my body, I went further. I jumped after health and fitness and did my first nose surgery. It made me feel like my body belonged to me - not the other way around. I could use it and shape it as I wished.

By the time I faced my gender identity, I was almost 30 years old. Transgender people are not aware of basic biology: we become obese, confused or deceived if you believe what is written on social media. Rather, it was my relationship with myself and my body that showed me that I was a trans woman. I was very aware of the body I had, but I learned that I should not accept it.

Being a trans woman can feel like you were created to fail and our bodies often affect our ability to 'function' within society. But I believe in individual bodily autonomy; a refusal to let the system predetermine or limit your choices is one of the ways we attack patriarchal structures.

Although the physical transformations I have undergone have increased my sense of self-worth and self-worth, I have remained the same human person. Notwithstanding any act of bodily rebellion — some superficial, some life-changing — must not be the greatest source of joy in my life.

The inside - call it consciousness, self or personality - has constantly influenced me, and it is that part that has experienced love and pleasure, pain, disappointment and despair. If my body is a ship, I am its captain.