Trans bodies under scrutiny

3 min readOct 17
Photo by Elina Sazonova:

One of the interesting things about visiting the US has been the differences in how people approach trans topics. In the UK folk are more circumspect and less engages with trans issues, while every time I talk to a person in the States there is much more openness about trans issues and trans bodies. Given the state of trans rights in the US this is not surprising, though even with the overall good will towards trans folk it still feels like trans bodies are under far more scrutiny here than in the UK.

This scrutiny feels as if the only concern is the physical, rather than the whole person, as if trans bodies are the weapons with which we terrorise society. Yes, I am being slightly hyperbolic, but when any human issue comes down to the bodies we live in then it is hard to avoid being placed under the microscope simply for being yourself.

I got stopped at the US boarder when I flew in over the weekend, with the boarder guard not giving me a full reason as to why she pulled me in for a search. As I had no legal rights other than an expectation to be honest and cooperate the thought of my trans identity being the cause kept playing as she asked her questions about me, my medication, and the reason for my trip. It is a strange experience both knowing that every word I say will be picked apart and that the medication I depend on will out me as being trans regardless of my actions. Thankfully she let me go through the border, though it stuck with me just how capricious being trans is in a country where I do not know where I stand.

This is only a small glimpse of what I am sure many US trans women go through daily. Bathroom bills always struck me as unenforceable, with an expectation that it will be the general public who do the actual policing of the bills. The sight of police officers with live guns on their hips is an alien concept to most Brits, where the regular police are unarmed, so if a bathroom situation ever developed to the point of the cops then it could get fraught. Unlikely as this is, my bodily rights are dependant on other people’s goodwill, I am at the mercy of others to reinforce my inherent right simply to exist in peace.

Normally I am blasé about my identity, it is not something I have to hide or hold back, though in a land where simply being me in the open strips me of certain basic…


Writer, researcher, and generally curious