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May 2nd, 2015

Our Bodies, Ourselves

It's in the middle of my end of semester grading hell, but I wanted to take a moment to discuss something I heard a commentator point out in regards to the Bruce Jenner interview.  He argued that unless we are asexual, most straight or gay people can likely imagine what it would be like to be oriented the other way, since most of us have experienced sexual attraction of some kind, but it is harder for CIS people to imagine what it is like to feel as though we are a different gender from our physical-at-birth gender--to feel not at home in or betrayed by our bodies.

I think this is really true, but it also makes me feel a certain kinship with Mr. Jenner, because, I think I--and a lot but not all--disabled folk can have periods of feeling like our own bodies are at war with us, or that we've been assigned the wrong body etc.  Unless a typically able-bodied person has been very ill or recently injured, I think it is hard for them to understand, or for me to describe to them, what it is like when I want to do X or Y thing and my body just. . .won't, or what it's like even after being disabled all of my life, to look down at myself and think, "This thing I've been issued is fundamentally flawed.  I want an upgrade."  Intellectually, I know my body isn't some separate being that is trying to make my life difficult--or just some meat sack I have to drag around, but there are days. . .so, God bless, Mr. Jenner.  I wish you the happiness you seek.

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