It’s fun to try to be beautiful when people are giving you positive attention for it. It hurts if you’re not meeting that standard and people treat you like you aren’t even there. You watch the people who are getting a lot of positive attention for being that certain kind of beautiful and you are made to feel invisible.
Or worse, people go out of their way to make you feel bad.
It’s hard to be a woman, yes. It’s a lot harder to be a woman who’s hairy, wide, big, tall, square instead of round, straight up and down (instead of curvy), with big hands, big feet, no vagina and maybe no breasts either. A woman who isn’t quite looking like what some people think a woman should look like, but who is finding her way.
To these women, the world can be downright cruel. More than cruel, but violent. Harassment often escalates into assault, more often than you would like to hear, and can escalate into full-on homicide.
For these women, being womanly in the way we are told we have to be is sometimes about more than beauty. It’s about survival. This episode is about the story of one woman’s quest for beauty.
This was a collaboration with the badass poet + radiomaker, Julia Alsop. After we finished production, we invited Zil Goldstein into my walk-in closet magic sound booth to talk through some of the blindspots in the story. Zil is a nurse practitioner, working specifically to help medical providers be more LGBTQ-aware.
If you are interested in learning more about the disproportionate amount of violence that trans-women face, visit the National Coalition Against Violence Project to see their annual reports.