What a great piece on identity, crossdressing, and the internet:
I grew up surrounded by the notion that bodies and identities come in 1:1 ratios: we get a body and an identity. But from as early as I remember, I had a body that did not line up flush with any single identity but instead slipped this way and that so that it lined up with Tori at one point, or the hard man of Cameroon at another, or any one of the many selves I’ve deployed throughout my life.
The discovery of the personal ad flipped a switch in the dark: the slippage I had experienced occurred not only on the side of body, but on the side of identity as well, so that Tori might slip from one body to another just as I slipped in and out of various presentations of identity. Once recognized, the logic struck me as obvious, a happy and symmetrical discovery.
I don’t mean to pretend that somehow, body and identity have been cleaved free from one another, or that we live in a world where body has no relevant bearing on identity and vice versa. After all, those pictures of Tori showed my arms, my face, my ears, that mole on the cheek next to my nose. Yet, somewhere in the hinterland of the internet, some other person had claimed one of my identities, an identity borne of my body, but one that transcended skin, muscle, hair, fat and bones, as she moved through online space, until she settled upon the imagined teenager, his body becoming hers, her voice speaking through his throat to the anonymous man on the other end of the phone.
Do take the time to read the whole of it. it is so nice to read something about the trans by someone who can really write.
(My thanks to Lea for the tip.)