It’s time for joy!
Illustrations by Lucas Braak
It’s all in the smallest of things. When I discover a new hair in my beard or mustache, when I’m able to take my shirt off on a hot day, when I see a visibly swollen vein on my forearm, when someone correctly uses my pronouns or when I caress my flat chest with my hands. Sometimes trans joy can be found in the little things.
Trans joy is the joy or euphoria that someone can experience in relation to their gender identity. It’s about (re)claiming your identity and above all else, the celebration of it. About breaking with cisnormativity and gender norms. Celebrating the space that is created when you let go of those norms and are unapologetically yourself.
The conversation around trans people too often focuses on the tough sides of being trans; think of the terribly long waiting lists, experiences with transphobia and violence, and so on. There is enough to be angry about and fight for. But it’s important that in the conversation surrounding gender the focus doesn’t lie too much on the problems and obstacles that trans people encounter. That’s because this can create the false idea that you cannot or will not be happy as a trans person. Precisely because of that it’s essential that more attention is brought to the enormous joie de vivre and strength that emerges when people are (able to be) themselves.
Since my body, thanks to my transition, aligns with my gender identity, my gender dysphoria has changed to gender euphoria. Where previously I was weighed down by discomfort, frustration and fear on a daily basis, I now experience so much pleasure, joy and fun every day. Where before my transition I could sometimes think “I wish I weren’t trans”, I now think: “I would not trade being trans for the world”. For me my trans identity is a gigantic enrichment to my life. It gives me such a different perspective of the world and certain systems within our society. For instance, I have experienced the way in which men and women are treated differently in the flesh. These insights are a fortune to me. Now that my body matches my identity, I no longer suffer under my transness, and instead it’s something that I celebrate more and more. Through my transness I’ve realized as no other how important it is to be comfortable in your own skin, to have people around you who accept you, respect you, and even celebrate you.
Besides that, trans joy is also simply revolutionary. By specifically celebrating that piece of yourself that is marginalized by society, you show that the norms that are upheld within it are not necessary to be happy. Now that there’s an increasing amount of information available about gender diversity, more and more people realize that they do not (fully or exclusively) identify with their gender assigned at birth. We are with evermore people. Still our stories in the media are one sided and above all too often show the negative side. While one of the most beautiful things about trans joy is that you can’t only experience it for yourself, but also for others.
When I see a sib fall in love, get into one (or more) relationship(s), be successful in their work or hobby, but above all else seeing them be happy. Because when I see my trans sibs experience joy, the joy grows exponentially. And to be fair, after recent events we are due for some joy.