(CW: This is super cisgender/post-op female centric and may trigger dysphoria.)
Okay, maybe this is TMI… I’m a very open person (you’ve read my stuff, right?), and I’ve had pretty intimate conversations with other women, but I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this one…
Sometimes, at the strangest moments, I get weirdly conscious of my labia.
Like this morning as I’m entering a shop. I’m wearing a nice dress and heels; I reposition my handbag as I open the door and catch sight of my nails (which I keep impeccably manicured in a wine-red shellac ― I’m stereotypically high-femme, as was my mother), and all of a sudden I’m super conscious of my labia rubbing together as I step over the threshold. Sometimes it’s my breasts, like when you have to move your arm out-and-around to be comfortable. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I just feel so…female.
I dunno... maybe it’s just a trans thing. But I don’t think so.
I’ve had this body for nearly three decades now ― half my lifetime. You’d think I’d be pretty used to it, and sure, most of the time I don’t give it much thought; but every now and then…
So, I know guys get something like this, with their junk always hanging out there and getting in the way of things. I think they probably get that so-male feeling now and then, when the pinch comes.
(I have some personal insight here; which is, frankly, awkward and unpleasant when you’re a woman. Fortunately, there was a fix. And it came with labia, plus other goodies. Hallelujah.)
Again, maybe it’s just a trans thing. Most of us go through a long period of having our gender constantly invalidated, by everyone around us, by every pronoun used on us, by our own bodies. It’s pretty awful. So maybe we’re a bit hyper-conscious of our genders. I’ve heard cisgender people say that they’re unaware of their genders much of the time, but the thing is, cis people’s genders aren’t being invalidated at every turn, so that awareness wouldn’t often rise up, would it?
(Actually, I have heard from cisgender people who experience gender invalidation ― for example, butch women and women whose physiques or personal styles happen to diverge a bit too far from Barbie™ may be misgendered and have washroom confrontations).
And actually, I’m not really super aware of my gender much of the time — well, not anymore; not in the past few decades, anyway. It’s a relief to be free of that constant awareness. But every now and then there’s a little rub and suddenly I just feel so…female.
So, are you ever weirdly conscious of your labia? Let me know in the comments.
I double-dog dare you! ;-)
Find more of Ms Washington’s stories here and #AllisonsStories.