Everybody Does It: Gender Affirming Care
Do you ever think about how you practice gender affirming care?
No, I'm not talking about just trans people (Though if you're trans, hi!). I'm talking about cis people too. Regardless of how you figured out your gender, birth or transition, everyone with a gender tends to have gender affirming care.
It's not stupid. It's very healthy, when you have a gender. But I'm sick of people pretending like cis people don't practice gender affirming care as well.
Let's try a little list. Let's just do, uh, men. For funsies. Here's some things I see cis men do on the regular to affirm their gender:
- the big truck
- the sports identity
- the 'fixer' reputation (handyman, IT guru, mythbuster-types etc)
- facial hair
- muscle man (there's a reason male body disorders/eating disorders tend to revolve around looking muscular)
- video games/the 'gamer' identity
- the 'rough and tumble' reputation -- can't be too fussy, can't care too much about your appearance (too feminine), sometimes this even presents as neglect for hygiene.
We're not even getting into some of the more toxic ways to affirm gender, like ignoring 'softer' emotions, or building walls in relationships to avoid intimacy. It's just so built into the understanding of 'men' as a gender that they forget it counts as affirmative care.
How about ladies? Hm? Oh, let's take a look:
- the makeup/fashion identity
- the 'mother'/'girlfriend'/'homemaker'/'wife' identity
- long hair/makeup/presentation
- breast implants
- dresses (the swish!)
- vocal tone
And we're still not talking about things like 'wanting to date someone taller' or 'I only like to wear heels' or 'the man should pay for everything'. But it's all so baked in that nobody questions that it could be a cis version of gender-affirmation.
And then I hear things like 'gender affirming care is so extreme' or 'why do you need gender affirming care if you're secure in your gender'. And do you realise how hard it is to take any of that with a straight face when it comes from a man wearing a trucker hat who drove to work in his Big Work Truck, with his 'can't take my guns' bumper sticker? The amount of cis men who will buy anything if it says the word 'tactical', but mocking women or trans people for their gender affirmation?
Can we please just normalize gender affirming care? Can we please stop judging the way people approach their gender, instead of acting like it's only a 'trans' thing? It's like the people offended by the idea they have pronouns. It's always okay to call someone out for toxic behaviour. But it's worth questioning if you don't like something just because you're not used to viewing it in a certain light. Wanting to look 'pretty' or 'masculine' isn't toxic, it's wanting gender affirmation. The judgement is getting old. Let's try supporting one another instead.