Raise your hand if you’re like me and gained weight during the pandemic. It seems like everyone has.
I’ve been working full-time from home since mid-March 2020. I have access to food at all times of the day. I don’t feel like I’ve changed my eating habits, but I must have because my weight slowly crept up on me — not a crazy amount of weight — about 15-20 pounds — but it’s enough for my clothes to fit differently and to feel a certain amount of “yuck” when I look in the mirror.
I struggle between trying to be body positive but not loving what I see in the mirror or feeling good about the way my clothing fits.
Being trans can make being body positive even harder. Like many trans guys, I think, I’m too short, my hips are too big, my voice is too high, my feet are too small, and the list goes on. But let’s try to look on the bright side of things.
My short feet mean I can buy shoes from the boy’s section and I save a lot of money that way. The same shoes for men would cost $75 and I buy the exact same ones but in the boy’s sizes for half the price.
I can’t help my short height but at 5 foot 6 inches, I’m taller than many other trans guys and the tallest female-born person in my immediate family. Besides, I married a woman who’s 5 foot 11 inches, so she can reach everything on the tallest shelves for me.
My hips are bigger than I’d like, but HRT did help to narrow their look. However, something my brother said actually helped my outlook on my hips. My brother was at my wedding party and I asked him to help me pick out my wedding suit. While trying on suits, I said, “My hips are too big,” and he responded with, “A lot of guys have larger hips.” My brother, a cisgender straight man, made me feel better about my body with this little comment and that meant a lot to me.
On the phone, I’m often mistaken for a woman. It’s one of my biggest insecurities. As someone who uses their voice often for work and activism, it makes me feel self-conscious. But this voice is my power. It’s educated people, helped me stand up for myself and others when needed, expressed excitement and sorrow, and more. My voice is my most powerful feature. And if it’s a bit high, well, I guess I can live with that, because look where it’s gotten me.
It’s hard for anybody, transgender or not, to look in the mirror and be happy about their body. Especially this past year when so many of us have turned to food for comfort and that’s become reflected in our weight.
I’m in my early 30s now, so I’ve wondered if this is just how it is now? Have I become someone with a bit of a “dad bod”? Ok, so I’ve gained some weight and I’m not ecstatic about it.
But, also, who cares?
My wife and I went to Portland, Maine recently for vacation. We were on the beach and I’m looking around at all these different bodies and I think, “Nobody cares.”
Literally, nobody seemed to care about anybody else’s body. This is my body and this is what it does for me: it digests my food, it self-heals when I cut myself, it gets me up and down the steps, I can ride a bicycle, and open a jar of food, and it can do pretty much any DIY project I ask of it around our house and yard. This body is amazing. I’ve asked my body to go through two puberties for me and it obeyed. I’m not always good at being grateful, but I try to practice. Just writing this article helped me see my body in new ways. How can you see your body in new, positive ways today?
Atticus Ranck (he/him/his pronouns) works in the Education and Training Program of the AIDS Institute for the New York State Department of Health. Atticus identifies as a trans man and he is married to a trans woman. Together, they are raising two puppies and a cat and happily live in rural upstate NY. Previously, he was the Director of Transgender Services at SunServe in Wilton Manors.