Female & Femme Trans Joy
When I started writing this column, I realised that how I experience transjoy is of course only a fragment of the much broader experience of trans joy. In the previous column I mentioned some examples of things that give me trans joy. As a non-binary, masculine-presenting person, I have less knowledge of the perspective of trans women and femmes on trans joy. But now that I am delving into the joys of being trans for this column, I see it as my task to get to know other perspectives, especially because trans women and femmes are the most marginalised group within our community. It is essential to also emphasise the other side, to provide younger generations of trans women and femmes with hope, and to show them that they too have a right to joy.
Specially for this column, I asked a few trans women and femmes what gives them transjoy, and what this means to them.
Lily (20, she/her): “I experience trans joy when someone calls me ‘girl,’ or when I’m with my girl friends and someone calls us ‘girls’ or ‘ladies.’ It’s so casual but it truly gives me butterflies. I also experience trans joy now that my hair is finally long enough that it’s beginning to touch my back, or when I feel my smooth neck, chin, or cheeks. But also when I see other trans women and femmes thriving. Trans joy to me means that I am seen as the person I am and feel the freedom to express that person and give her space.”
Ilona (61, she/her): “Trans joy comes to fruition for me when I am able to fully be myself. I have finished up my medical transition and seeing myself naked in the mirror can make me cry of happiness. It feels completely right, I don’t have insecurities anymore besides the ‘normal insecurities’ that many women experience. The joy for me is also in getting to share my life story with others, for instance by giving lectures and workshops. Because sharing in openness cultivates understanding and empathy in everyone who struggles with this topic.”
Ann (31, they/them/theirs): “When I feel a soft skirt against my legs, or when I feel pretty when I’m wearing makeup, I experience trans joy. When female strangers smile warmly at me I feel seen in my femininity. But to me, trans joy is the power I find in softness, playfulness. I feel the most trans joy when the relaxation is there to be able to soften what I have had to keep in for decades. To me it is also about letting go, being able to be in the moment.”
Sharmila (19, she/her): “There are many things that can give me trans joy. Trans femmes who admire themselves in the mirror, trans mascs who are happy with their new body hair: trans and non-binary people who experience gender euphoria, even when they themselves do not notice it. Trans joy is the shared pleasure of gender euphoria, and often brings me insight into my identity as well. It’s a reminder to me that in a world and system in which our existence is constantly ridiculed, we are the ultimate embodiment of self-embracement and self-love.”