Can You Handle This Ass in Yoga Pants?

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MONIKABy Monika MHz, PQ Monthly
Lately I’ve been working to better my own mental and physical health. That means eating better, sleeping more regularly, and being more regular with my autoimmune meds. Central to that concern, though, is stepping up my previous workout plan to be harder and a bit more intense. Not that I'm in bad shape, in fact on a good day my thick thighs are enough to make me feel good about myself — and make me feel like I'm sufficiently rejecting beauty standards that weren't meant for women as sexy as this chica. [What's up, ladies?] But I digress. Working out has become a big central focus, and as has been some things I've known — but rarely think about — from more than a decade living trans have kind of been brought to the forefront of my mind. Oh hey, look at that, it’s timely. Chloie Jönsson, the fan-yourself, swoon-inducing trans woman athlete, was denied entry into the women’s CrossFit Games due to what CrossFit thinks is those silly queers not understanding biology. “The fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women,†the folks who are ‘definitely’ biology professors at CossFit proclaimed. Even getting serious in their letter reminding us that they totally aren’t bigoted as people who are doing something awful are prone to do, “Our decision has nothing to do with ‘ignorance’ or being bigots — it has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school.†Elsewhere, Fallon Fox lost her bout with Ashlee Evans-Smith because... Fox had an advantage? I don’t want to dive too far into that because, as always I’m interested in something often overlooked. We’re always talking about competition and fitness at the highest levels, but we often forget the young trans women who might just want to get fit. Fitness has long been a focus in my life, but it’s never been about training to the limits of human potential, but just feeling good about myself and my body. I probably work out for the same reasons most people end up putting in an hour a day at the gym. But there’s the kicker: I’ve rarely been to a gym in my life, I’ve never taken a Phys Ed. class, and hell, I’ve never even gone swimming since middle-school. I’ve never done any of those things because of the terror that comes with being a trans woman in a fitness environment. Let’s be clear on a couple of things, that terror isn’t just mine, it’s everyone else’s too. Hearing the way people talk about Chloie and Fallon just reminds me that people are upfront terrified of a trans woman’s presence in general, but in a fitness environment it skyrockets for some reason. Perhaps they imagine trans women are somehow super powered and people fear strong women, I don’t know, but it’s true that a trans woman in some workout pants and a leg press just doesn’t seem to sit well with the general public. And the decisions we make at the highest levels of competition have impacts for the young women who just wanna get their squat on. We’ve all heard the stories that make the news, the locker room stories of trans women. But for each one of those that makes the news because of the scandal that women have diverse bodies, there is a trans woman who is denied access to a gym facility at all, or who is kicked out because someone discovered her secret. Trans women who refuse to use the locker room facilities are still at risk of being asked to leave or work out somewhere else, if their trans-ness becomes public knowledge. As is always the case, trans women are expected to leave or be denied entry at any place for the comfort of others. And we can view this general rule of thumb across the board in just about all the ways society interacts with us. Next time you see a big issue surrounding just about anything involving a trans woman, ask yourself, “is she being expected to put everyone else’s comfort ahead of her own, even at the expense of her own health (mental or otherwise)?†Nearly every major complaint I’ve got about this stuff has its roots right there. I’m always expected to be super sensitive and accommodating, which I do, but no one will budge even an inch. Look, I don’t mind accommodating to a degree because I live in the real world, and we aren’t going to radically deconstruct the system any time soon, but it just seems absurd that lost in all these questions of locker rooms, saunas, and high level competitions is a simple question of whether or not we believe trans women should actually be allowed participation in our community/society. And there it is, a hard-to-see repercussion of the “dangerous†trans woman stereotype. It denies us the ability to participate in even the simplest parts of living in the western world, even something stupid like going to a gym. The world can be a pretty alienating place when you’re deemed too alien to participate. I’d say I’d see you at the gym, but you probably couldn’t handle this ass in yoga pants anyway.