Born in the wrong body isn’t the narrative of all trans people.
Some people feel this way, many, many do not.
What was wrong for me was people labelling me a boy and treating me a certain way based on that.
I love my body, and I love who I am.
I’ve made decisions and changes to it along the way to take ownership. Also, to be who I really want to be.
My body wasn’t what was wrong, but the expectations of the world around me were.
The expectation was that I wouldn’t grow up to look this way, to act this way, because when I was born I was labelled a “boy”.
And the hard part wasn’t that I was trans in and of itself, but that being trans meant I had to live in defiance of those expectations.
Trying to explain being trans as ‘when your gender doesn’t match the body you’re born with’ is misleading, doesn’t represent everyone, and is basically just wrong.
Being trans is when your gender doesn’t match the one assigned to you at birth.
That means when you’re born and people look at your body and say ‘It’s a boy/girl’, you’re assigned a gender.
And when you’re trans, that means when you were assigned a gender, they got it wrong.
That doesn’t make doctors, family members, the people around a trans person bad for getting it wrong.
Our whole society is structured in a way that can still, even today, be surprisingly, crushingly rigid and binary in how we view gender.
What’s important is to recognise we DO live in a world like that.
Where babies are assigned into one of two categories, female or male, and that category has long lasting ramifications for how they’re expected to live.
But the reality is, many of us don’t fit with the gender we’re assigned at birth.
Some of us change our bodies, others don’t.
Some of us change our names, others don’t.
Some of us present in ways that are traditionally feminine or masculine, others don’t.
Some of us totally throw the gender rulebook out the window and craft an identity that’s wholly our own.
And nobody is less valid for going down any of those roads.
It’s all about recognising trans people are as diverse and unique as anyone and everyone else.
So when we say not to say ‘born in the wrong body’ or ‘boy who wants to be a girl’ or ‘when your gender doesn’t match the body you’re born with’ it’s because those represent a very specific, limited, and largely dated way of thinking about being trans.
Some people feel those terms describe who they are, and they have every right to make that decision, as individuals.
The reason I and so many others say ‘gender assigned at birth’ is because it’s more wholly representative.
It’s more inclusive of the many different kinds of trans and gender diverse people.
No language is perfect, and this stuff is ever evolving, but for now leave “born in the wrong body” behind when you’re talking about trans people as a whole.
There are many different ways to be trans, but starting with language that more accurately and inclusively describes who we are, even if it’s tricky at first, makes a world of positive difference.
Margot Fink is an Australian trans advocate and host of the web series Margot Talks.