Day 4 (July 15): Visibility for the invisible
I’m disabled, mentally ill and a bit in-between fat and skinny. I’m never really sure whether or not I count as a fat but I’m chubby/plus size.
My disability (chronic illness) does feel somewhat related to my gender identity, primary because I got sick at around the same time I started questioning and came out when I first attempted to go back to mainstream school.
This is particularly in relation to my dad who took a long time to accept that I was trans and sick and who began to come to terms with this at around the same time (I think because my mum did a lot of work to force him to deal with my gender and a side affect was forcing him to deal with my illness.) And even with say my grandparents, I was the first to be really undeniably mentally ill as well as being the first to come out.
I think there is a lot of dismissal when it comes to being mentally ill and Non-binary. Bigots like to say that being nonbinary is a mental illness and when you’re actually mentally ill it can feel harder to defend yourself (also non mentally ill non binary people, please stop throwing us under the bus).
There’s also a lot of bigotry in the medical field and it can be harder for us disabled and mentally ill enbies to access medically transition because we are deemed as unable to make informed consent. We are also often misgendered by our doctors.
The other way my mental illness (as well as my size) influences my experience of being non binary is dysphoria. My feelings of internalised fatphobia, dysphoria and emotional flashbacks can feel very similar and are often centred on the same parts of my body. This often makes it very difficult to identify and they often get all mixed up.
As I got sicker, I’ve put on quite a lot of weight. I think the main way this influences my experiences is that it’s really fucking hard to find decent clothing in larger sizes which means I can’t always dress how I want. Fat bodies are also very heavily gendered and we have to be hyperfem/masc in order to seem as acceptable. It’s difficult to be androgynous in the same way skinny people are able to.
Then there’s the extension of rampant medical fatphobia that we encounter when medically transitioning. I have not personally had experience of this but I heard stories from other people, particularly transmasc people, who have been unable to start hrt or get surgery until they lose weight which is horrifying and makes me very nervous about trying to medically transition.
I didn’t actually realise how much my gender intersects with my other identities so this was really interesting d