Content warning: mentions of sexual harassment.
The female biological body is a vessel, the Republican party declared, which the male biological body may open and close and store and steal at will.
I was born and raised as a woman. My first experience with male power was in my first year of middle school when I was catcalled on the street. I didn’t like wearing skirts after that.
Now that I am in the middle of medically transitioning into the opposite sex, I have a fresh perspective on my life and on womanhood in general. There are a hundred juxtapositions floating like smoke in my head and when I try to catch them, they disappear in my palms. The landmark Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade is not as impactful for me as it is for my cisgender female friends, but I know that it’s likely the first step towards a greater revolution, which will next strike the queer community.
I’m incredibly lucky. I’m white, I have the chance to attend college, and as far as harassment and bullying goes, I’ve escaped the physical violence I know many transgender people have experienced. Even so, my journey has not been a walk in the park. I won’t go into details, but getting my hands on the proper medication and surgical procedures has been incredibly expensive, time-consuming and needlessly difficult, even with two gender health doctors on my side writing notes of permission and recommendation.
It horrifies me to think about what my transgender brothers, sisters and siblings might have to go through in the future. They will be turned into nameless vessels and denied care in order to maintain the status quo; one husband, one wife, one well-lubricated baby-making machine in the beautiful picket fence nation sponsored by Nestle.
I’m sorry to be American. On the Fourth of July this year, I watched the fireworks numbly from a porch swing, cold and pensive. My favorite firework with the showering golden sparks didn’t fill me with wonder like it used to. America is supposed to be the land where anyone can do anything, but redlining, gerrymandering and bureaucracy mean I have no hope of changing my fate. The lights in the sky screamed in my face that my troubles are only beginning. Yesterday I was self-conscious about the size of my ass. Today I pray that my biologically female friends aren’t forced into a cage of either child-rearing or prison.
Continue to contact your lawmakers about what you feel is right. If the power is truly in the hands of the states, that power should belong to you, no matter your gender.
You are not a vessel for a baby or a vote or someone else’s dream. Your body is not forbidden from you. You are a thinking, feeling human being, who loves other thinking, feeling human beings, and you matter.
Milo Openshaw (he/him) is the opions editor for The Front winter '22. He's a junior majoring in creative writing with a teaching endorsement. This year he will read 60 books and write at least one.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find him on Instagram @miloohno if you want to see him. Or don't. (I wouldn't recommend it.)