Today’s reflection on body images comes to us from Tobias Houlton.
Born into a world where body image and the systematic portrayal of gender can be restrictive to most people at best, I found my trans identity a little stressful to say the least. Since my earliest memory, I understood that my gender did not conform with my body. The binary lifestyles that we are encouraged to lead meant that I could not enjoy the way of life of the boys around me. Puberty was a whole other rollercoaster. As boys appeared to luxuriate in becoming men, I got stuck with female puberty–complicated with polycystic ovarian syndrome… heck, that condition is something else! Facing issues with increased prejudice and an unhealthy body and mind, I became heavily disinterested in maintaining myself. I packed on the weight and gave up… until I discovered access to healthcare that would see my transition into manhood possible.
Since the moment I received hormones, I rediscovered myself. I felt a purpose to life because I was released from the shackles of a false identity. I began to pursue powerlifting – a sport that I had previously been discouraged in. It has seen me burn the calories and build up physical strength. I am now healthier and happier. I have become more outgoing and positive. I feel alive!! I no longer resent my past, but view it as a spiritual path that has enforced an awareness and consideration for different people. Not to judge and fear, but to appreciate and work to understand for the better good.
It’s not entirely a happy ending though. I still carry a great deal of frustration towards the closed mindset of society. I know my ability to bond with people has improved, not just because I’ve grown in confidence, but because I fit better into this gender-coded society. I am conscious that so many LGBTQ people suffer needlessly at the hands of ignorant people. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done across the world… but we can have faith that improved education and opportunity is on the increase. Tomorrow will be a better world!