Fat, Trans and (Working on Being) Fine With It

click here for more trans*scribe

click here for more trans*scribe

One of the scariest things about the early steps of my transition was shopping for clothes. I wasn’t ready to go out in “girl mode,” and even if I was, I didn’t have the clothes to do so. Every time I went into a store I was deathly afraid that the cashier would ask who I was buying the dresses for, that other customers would realize what I was doing, or worst of all, that I would bump into someone I wasn’t yet out to. Even though it should have been fun buying new outfits and picking out clothes that finally reflected who I was and what I liked, it was huge cause of stress in my life.

What made it even worse is that I’m fat.

I’m about six feet tall, I wear a women’s size 12 shoe, and a size 20 dress. So not only do I have to deal with the crippling dysphoria that comes from having a body that I often don’t even recognize as my own, I also have to deal with the cultural misogyny that tells me that a woman can’t be as big and fat as I am and still be desirable.

Photo © Meyllen DJneres

Photo © Meyllen DJneres

When I started coming out, I also started getting people telling me that I wasn’t a real woman. I was told that I was claiming God made a mistake, that I was making the wrong choice, that I was kidding myself. I was told that even if I dressed and acted like a woman, because of my genitals or chromosomes, I would always technically be a man. I’ve been able to block most of that out. My friends and family have, almost universally, been incredibly supportive and accepting. They see me as the woman I am. There are still a few comments here and there about “biological women” and “biological men” but I’m learning to manage those. Even though I had learned to ignore people saying I’m not a real woman, I now have to deal with an entirely new criticism of my body. Now that I’ve started presenting as a woman, people feel free to comment on how I look.


Photo © Meyllen DJneres

Apparently, now my size is fair play. As a guy, the last time I remember someone making fun of me for being fat was in the ninth grade, but as a woman, I get comments on my weight almost every time I post pictures on my blog. Whether it’s someone commenting on one of my photos saying, “And this is why america [sic] has fallen into ruin. You are morbidly obese,” or porn blogs sending me messages saying they would love to see naked pictures of my “sexy fat ass.” As a woman I have to navigate this strange world where people either feel like my fatness is somehow hurting them or exists only to feed their fetish. And it sucks. I already deal with enough body image issues as it is, you know, the whole dysphoria thing, and I really don’t need society’s standards of how big a woman can be to give me more.

I don’t need stores to only carry dresses and pants up to a size 12. I don’t need stores that only carry women’s shoes up to a size 10. In the town I live in there are only two stores that carry a wide selection of women’s clothes that fit me. Building up the courage to get dressed, put on makeup, do my hair and then go out in public to do some shopping only to be told “We don’t have anything in your size” feels like an affirmation of all the times I was told I was a man. I’m lucky if the thrift stores have more than two or three nice things that are my size. If I want new clothes I have to shop online, go out of town, or wait for the stores to restock their supply. It’s not fun. It makes me frustrated with my body. It makes me even more frustrated with the fashion industry that says women who look like me don’t deserve nice clothes.

Photo © Meyllen DJneres

Photo © Meyllen DJneres

My dysphoria means that sometimes I look in the mirror or I look at my body and feel sick to my stomach at what hormones have done to me. They have misshapen my genitals, given me hair in all the wrong places, messed up my skeleton, and made my voice sound like it’s coming from someone else. It’s hard to see myself as someone who I can like and love, let alone as someone that another person could like and love. I’ve lost sleep because of how I feel about my body. In the past I’ve even withdrawn from my friends and stopped socializing because of how I feel about my body. But it’s getting better. I’m learning how to not hate what I see. I’m reminding myself that some women are hairier than others, some women have broad shoulders, some women have small boobs. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point. I’m not about to let even more body hate derail that. Yes I’m fat, but that doesn’t mean I have to hate that about my body too. There’s already enough I don’t like. So instead I do my best to embrace my fatness.

It’s tough as hell dealing with so much that tells you you’re not being a woman in the right way. If they’re not attacking you for what’s in your pants or in your genes, they’re attacking your for your height and your waistline. And then when they will accept fat women, they say that they better have curves in all the right places and be a perfect hourglass figure. Well, I’m not. I have broad shoulders, small boobs, a big belly and fat thighs. It hard to love my body sometimes, but it’s still beautiful. It’s still sexy. It’s still desirable. It’s just hard sometimes to see that. That’s why I have to practice purposeful body love. I’ve had to learn an entirely new set of exercises and techniques to deal with an entirely new type of attack on my body.

Photo © Meyllen DJneres

Photo © Meyllen DJneres

My body is my own and not here for other’s critique or objectification. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that. Sometimes I get dressed up in one of my favorite outfits and take some pictures, not to share with anyone else, just for myself. Sometime I look at fat fashion blogs and smile at all the other beautiful, amazing, gorgeous women who look like me. Sometimes I go shopping so I can find a dress that I know I look amazing in, despite what other people might think. Sometimes I take a bath, relax and just try to enjoy the feeling of being in my own body. I listen to music by Jill Scott and Aretha Franklin or watch Hairspray. I surround myself with friends who tell me I’m beautiful and compliment me on my looks. I remind myself that looks aren’t everything and that no matter what people think and say about my body I am a smart, talented, creative and powerful woman. It’s taking some time, and sometimes I struggle to love my fat, transgender body, but I’m getting there. I’ve learned that loving my body for all of its fatness has helped me to love my body for all of its transness as well.

Photo © Meyllen DJneres

Photo © Meyllen DJneres

About the author: Mey (short for Melínda) is a 26 year old queer trans Latina who lives in Idaho with her cat Sawyer.  She loves scifi, fantasy, horror and comic books.  Her hobbies include reading books and watching movies, going to concerts and being a comedy nerd.  She’s afraid of heights, airplanes and whales.

Special Note: Autostraddle’s “First Person” personal essays do not necessarily reflect the ideals of Autostraddle or its editors, nor do any First Person writers intend to speak on behalf of anyone other than themselves. First Person writers are simply speaking honestly from their own hearts.

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Mey Rude is a fat, trans, Latina lesbian living in LA. She's a writer, journalist, and a trans consultant and sensitivity reader. You can follow her on twitter, or go to her website if you want to hire her.

Mey has written 572 articles for us.


  1. Ma’am, you are dang gorgeous, and I’m glad to hear you preaching purposeful body love. Also, props to your killer fashion sense. Please keep your head up whenever the going gets tougher, because the world needs more folk like you.

  2. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

    Get it, girl! I don’t even know you and I’m proud of you xo

  3. You know, I think you are a beautiful woman. You’re pretty/cute/adorable. Please don’t let anyone tell you how you are supposed to look… And I like your style. You seem like a totally cool person. And by the way I think it’s fucking awesome you are out and talking about yourself so that other trans*people can learn that they are not alone with their body issues!

  4. Hi Mey,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m going through a period of questioning my gender (I’m FAAB), and I too am struggling with body dysphoria relating to my weight. Some days, I just feel like my body isn’t mine, like I should have a different one without breasts and hips. I feel the most comfortable when I’m wearing clothing from the “men’s” section, but I still look in the mirror and see a woman’s body that doesn’t match with how I see myself. I think part of my dysphoria comes from internalizing society’s message that my curves are “womanly” and that androgynous=skinny.

    I am trying to accept my body as part of me and tune out the haters who want to limit me according to my body type. Your article really gives me hope, and I’m going to revisit it whenever I’m having an off day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Much love,


      mey, thank you so much for this article. we could all take a page from your book in practicing purposeful self-love when it comes to our bodies. thank you again for writing this…i think you’re beautiful, but i think what’s even cooler is that you know you’re beautiful, too.

      • Arght, I want an edit button because then I could have corrected my rocker dude expression into something that is actually used in the blogosphere:

        *femmespiration PORN* or *femmespo porn* :)

        Okay, now I go on and +1 everyone because they are right: You are fabulous!

  5. Damn girl, you look FIERCE! You have rad glasses and AMAZING style. I think you’re hot as hell.

  6. This is a great article and I love how well you seem to be doing at loving your body. Also, you have so much style! That is absurdly apparent from all your photos. Thanks for sharing!

  7. This was a fabulous article and I can relate to almost everything in it when it comes to starting my transition now and I am regularly called Morbidly obese and I have to just accept it and push on. I know I have lots of weight to lose and in time I will but for now I am who I am and that is exactly who you are so keep standing up, smile and be proud:0)

  8. Daaaaamn girl you look great, for real. I love your sense of style. I’m a big girl too, I totally feel you. Time to go buy all your clothes, bye.

  9. You seem like an awesome person, and anyone who’s giving you hate for your size/shape deserves a solid punch to the face. I’m pretty much on the other end of the gender spectrum from you, but I also have giant feet; when I was presenting more feminine, I would get heels and such at BarefootTess.com, which offers women’s shoes up to a size 15. Brands like Naturalizer and Payless and a couple catalogs (Masseys, I think one was called?) also carry up to a size 13. I know it still sucks not to be able to be able to get your clothes in most stores like “straight-sized” people, but I hope this helps (if you didn’t know about them already).

    • additional unsolicited large foot advice:
      if there’s a nordstrom rack in your area, that’s a place that will actually have shoes in your size that you can try on. they actually have a big once a year “large size shoe sale” at the one near my parents’ house.
      nordstrom in general is better about carrying larger sized shoes than most other places, but they are wicked expensive. nordstrom rack is somewhat more affordable.

      • As another tall, fat girl with big feet, I’d have to disagree re: Nordstrom Rack. They have cute shoes in big sizes, yes, but you’re really compromising on quality. It’s like a sea of plastic soles with no arch/ankle support. Shoes carry your entire body, and with a heavier body, you need good shoes. I’m a huge fan of Clarks – they’re a great blend of cute and comfortable, and they last. Wolky is another good brand. I buy most of my shoes on Amazon, because while a brand may make shoes in large sizes, it’s still really hard to find stores that carry them.

    • Finding properly sized shoes is the worst. My feet are short, but very wide. I’ve been totally unable to find any shoes in my actual size (6.5 double-wide, sometimes even triple-wide) physically in a store. The few that are online are rather, uh, grandmotherly looking. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’d personally like to wear 4 inch heels while I still can. Why do shoe companies realize that people’s feet are different lengths, but seem to balk at the idea of producing shoes with literally a few centimeters more width?

  10. One of the best articles I’ve read so far. You portray a real human experience so beautifully!

  11. Hairy, small-boobed lady here and you are looking lovely. I may be shorter than you (as I constantly bemoan my barely 5″7 inches in socks) but you’ve got better style than I do by a mile.

    This was a great article. You’ve been able to say some stuff that I have never really been able to. Like how somedays you wake up and feel beautiful and admire yourself naked in the mirror, and then, when you go to put on clothes, suddenly it’s all you can do not to vomit at the image of yourself. And others you slag around in sweatpants and everyone seems to think your hair looks great when you haven’t washed it in days. (Yes, those are such typical examples, but it always seems to work out that way.) I think I’ll mosey on over to your blog now… :)

  12. When I look at the photos here I see someone who has control of their style, is fashion forward, and truly utterly fabulous. I appreciate your written voice as it speaks directly to the hardest, darkest parts of myself. Body image, negative an positive, is a conversation many of us having been having from a very long time and I appreciate your voice in this conversation. It is extraordinarily valuable.

  13. Hey, lovely! You are rocking that red lip so hard and just <3 to all the pictures and to sharing your struggles with us.

  14. You have the cutest style of all time. It is my dream to pull off this look as well as you do.

  15. You’re awesome! I’m totally impressed by all the ways you’ve figured out to help yourself like your body more and I’m going to borrow a few of them for myself. It feels like the work of not hating our bodies is never quite done. I’m glad you’re doing it, and looking adorable at the same time. Your style is super fly!

  16. this article was great. you are amazing and inspirational, lady. and you have the cutest style!! seriously, i love every outfit you have up there. also : i, too, love horror and scifi and am afraid of whales. i think we’d be great friends.

  17. Hi Mey. I giggled a little bit of your reminder that some women have broad shoulders, small boobs, and are hairy because that’s totally me! haha

  18. Well, you look great and I like your style. It’s interesting to hear about how the ways strangers give their opinions on your body varies with size and gender presentation!

  19. you look great Mey!! plus you know how to dress for your body! a lot of people struggle with that lol

  20. You know, I really don’t see anything wrong with your body. Yeah, you’re on hormones, there are going to be changes. Sounds like you’re in that “awkward” phase I hear all my friends talking about. I’m just like you in the way that I have small boobs, broad shoulders, and fat…everything. Well not fat anymore, but certainly wide. I’ve been weightlifting and it’s giving me a very masculine figure, even though I am female. I don’t let peoples comments get to me because I love my body and the things I do with it. You should too. It’s not about OTHER people’s comments, its about your comments to yourself every day. The more positive your comments, the more positive your attitude. I know with all the ignorant people out there it’s easier said than done, but once you get into the habit, you’ll start loving yourself a lot more. One more thing: You look damn sexy.

    • I’m a little saddened to hear you feel weightlifting is giving you a ‘masculine’ figure. I guess it is a sensitive spot for me because I started lifting about six weeks ago and you’ve freaked me out about becoming ‘masculine’. But honestly if you are a woman and you lift then that is just one version of what a woman’s body is like. Don’t let the haters tell you any different.

  21. I;m going to echo everyone here who thinks you’re beautiful and have awesome style! I love your attitude, too!

    I’m dealing with the “not my body” issues, although I don’t have so much to worry about from society’s opinion of my weight. Mostly I’m just bitter, sad, angry, and solitary. Even though you have a ways to go on feeling alright with things, I wish I were as well on my way as you are, and wish you the best going forward.

    Also, your tumblr is amazing.

  22. “beauty is strength and strength is beauty sometimes.” You are BOTH and let me say that I fly your ship of hairy,no boobs, broad shouldered femme and I still have to get up and love my titshairshoulders every day, too. XOXOXO

  23. Thanks for writing this. I am just beginning the move towards transition, and I too am tall, overweight, and insecure about it. It’s good to read your story.

  24. Yeah, I’m pretty overweight, and I had the hardest time coming out as trans*. Finding clothes that fit me, in Oklahoma mind you, was just harrowing at times, feeling unable to try on at the store and then the disappointment when I got home and nothing fit.

    Nowadays, I still have a hard time finding stuff I like in a size that fits, so I often just alter stuff on my own.

  25. I love your sense of style (golly, those glasses are rockin’) and your accessories and your swishy hair and your everything. Please keep being awesome.

  26. [this albiet very well-intentioned comment has been removed for violating our comment policy — the debate about fat vs. healthy isn’t a debate we have here, we’d like to focus on self-love, self-acceptance, and everybody being the boss of their own bodies!!]

  27. OMG. I love you. You are truly an inspiration to me. You rock it girl. I have always thought you were beautiful even way back in our tumblr days

  28. Wow, I just want to send a huge thank you to everyone for all the amazingly wonderful compliments and comments on this article! I was really nervous writing it, putting my body issues out like this, and it’s made me feel incredible to read all of the wonderful words from you guys!

    • Um, let’s go shopping together and then have a nail polish party. With whiskey. Or tea.
      Which is to say: you are totally fine and seem like the kinda rad femme lady who’d I want to be friends with!

    • Great article Mey, a very interesting consideration of how society can often attempt to demean women with the same language regardless of different body issues. You are fab and come across as a very cool chick (and yes, the glasses sweater is awesome).

      * Sometimes when I’m blue I use mindfulness meditation as a form of self care. *

  29. As a FAAB genderqueer person with PCOS, I can relate to so much of this. I hate how our society dictates that women aren’t really feminine or womanly enough due to the amount of body hair they have and how people think they have the right to correct you about it or that your body is up for consumption and commentary. I mean, how many times have I heard ‘bitch wax your lip’ from a cisgender gay man? Too many. Combined with the fact that a lot of people who do have dense body hair, are of color makes it even worse.

    I have hair on my broad shoulders, face, big belly, everywhere really & it doesn’t make me less of a person deserving of love or kindness. Thank you for writing this Mey. Your post articulates a point of view that I don’t often read on Autostraddle & I’m so pleased to see your writing on here. Based on your bio, I feel like we have a lot in common & could be awesome friends. *hugs*

    • Maybe somebody plucked a dark hair from my shoulder this morning.

      What I’m saying is, I can relate. Hair shouldn’t mean anything (unless you want it to!)

  30. Thank you for writing this awesome article. You are able to write the things I want to write. In fact, I submitted a similar article to trans-scribe (though, because of other issues, I couldn’t get it finished in time).

    You are fantastic. Thank you for saying the things which I feel so very deep down.

  31. echoing everyone else that this is a great article, but also your bio!! beautiful, great style, AND all those interests? totes the complete package.

  32. You are gorgeous and your style is AMAZING.

    The only thing we must disagree on is the fear of whales.

  33. would you be willing to explain or highlight some of the exercises you do to practice purposeful body love?

    • Sure! I mentioned some of them in the article, but I can expand on them.
      Buy yourself a treat. This can be a dress or jewelry or a fancy meal or just anything that makes you feel good. Like they say on Parks and Rec, TREAT YO SELF!
      Make a self care playlist and listen to it. Find songs that inspire you or make you love yourself and listen to them over and over again.
      A friend suggested the great idea of lighting a candle, drinking some water and painting your nails. Just taking time to relax and be with yourself is amazing.
      Get dressed up in a favorite outfit and take pictures. You don’t have to share them with anyone, but you can if you want.
      Check out the the vanityisasocialconstruct tumblr. It has a ton of great body love and self care advice and if you go back a few pages there’s a self-care mega list.

      • TREAT YO SELF!!! YES!!! Mey, will you be my friend?

        Thanks so much for this! I’m looking forward to more!!

  34. Feel free to cover lesbian content at any point, Autostraddle. I get being inclusive (lesbians are notorious for thinking about everyone else but their own community, save the bisexuals, trans, whales etc. before our own) but this is getting ridiculous now.

    • Sorry if Glee recaps, coverage on Prop 8 & DOMA reaching Supreme Court, & news on an Audre Lorde screening aren’t “lesbian” enough for you. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

      • Hey now, a 1 to 10 Anything-not lesbian to Bio-Essentialist ratio is unacceptable!

        Except this article WAS by a lesbian (Your lack of acceptance changes nothing) and autostraddle is still vastly diverse. The Trans*Scribesection was just launched. Its featured, like underwear was before, hopefully there wasn’t some unseen underwear backlash when the outerwear out there felt marginalized. A winter coat would make a vicious opponent when angered.

    • Well, seeing as I am a lesbian, doesn’t this count as “lesbian content?”
      And you can add that to the fact that Autostraddle’s mission statement says that they “want women to feel good about themselves, we want equality and visibility for all marginalized groups and ultimately, we’d like to change the world” and that they “seek to be a fresh, energizing voice for queer women.” I’d like to think that this article, and the other articles in the trans*scribe series, fit those themes very well. I am a queer woman, I am a lesbian and I write from those perspectives. With the trans*scribe series, I think that Autostraddle has done a great job of including queer trans women in the queer women community that we are so often shut out of.

      • mey this is exactly everything yes yes yes! thank you for sharing your story and feelings and BADASS STYLE on autostraddle.

        alsooooo the discussion re: “is this/am i gay/lesbian/queer/everything enough??!” is so tired and exhausted that i almost feel sorry for it whenever anyone tries to wake it up again.

    • As a lesbian, the community of queer women feels a lot like MY community. Also, the perspectives, feelings, and thoughts of trans women (many of whom ARE lesbians) are ones that we as a community rarely hear much about, thus making this series one of my favorites. Thank you, Autostraddle.

    • how can you possibly claim to know ”what everyone is thinking?”

      as well as the hugely positive effect that trans*scribe has on various demographics on autostraddle, it’s also commenters like you that prove that autostraddle needs trans content on this website.

      it might not be the authors of trans*scribe’s job to educate you, but you might as well sit in and learn a thing or two, because you need it.

    • It’s sure as hell what I’m thinking! I used to love autostraddle so freaking much, I donated to the redesign campaign and everything, I’ve read all of riese’s old writings…and yet, I think it’s time to move on to a different website.

    • There is plenty of non trans* specific content posted daily – if that’s all you’re interested in, you’re welcome to skip these articles. I don’t understand why people bother to click on things they aren’t interested in just to leave negative comments.

      Personally, I enjoy the series and feel that it is relevant to ALL queer women. For example, learning to accept your body and feel beautiful are things that almost all women(and all humans for that matter)struggle with.

      • Totally! I don’t get this about people on the internet. Nobody is making anyone read the articles. If you do not like the cut of a byline’s jib, you do not have to clink on the link and read the article. Nobody is going to arrest you and send you to jail if you do not. read. the article.

        (I read the article because it was awesome)

    • Yeah, actually, no: not everyone is thinking that. And I think it’s abundantly clear from the comments that the vast majority of people disagree with you. There are lots of different ways to be a woman and a lesbian and a queer girl, and if you can’t hang with that, AS probably isn’t the place for you.

      At the very least, you could have chosen to email the site administrators directly with your complaint. The fact that you didn’t says to me that you are being deliberately mean-spirited and that just ain’t a pretty look.

      (Apparently I can’t help feeding trolls.)

    • You know, I’m definitely down with saving the bisexual trans whales instead of saving your narrow-minded privilege. This isn’t the space for you – maybe AfterEllen?

    • You reinforce part of the very point that the author is making in the article. Maybe you missed the point that she IS a lesbian. Based on the reactions that your comment got it seems that everyone here was not thinking what you were.

    • Anyone else getting a One-Million-Moms-fallacy vibe from this comment?

      All of youse on AS are my heroes!

  35. You look amazing! Fuck what other people say. If your header didn’t say trans I would just think you were a stylist thick chick.

    • I know this was meant as a compliment, and thank you for calling me stylish and saying I look amazing, but I really have no problem with the fact that I look trans. I am trans, so I look trans. Looking trans isn’t bad (or even one specific way to look) and it doesn’t mean that I look any less like a woman. I talk about this toward the end of another article I wrote for AS here: http://www.autostraddle.com/on-body-snarking-with-the-word-trnny-168052/

  36. I am a fly small size 0 woman, and I want to take and use your techniques that you use to feel gorgeous about your body to feel gorgeous about mine. It’s hard having a body in America period. Your wise words are amazing. Please take my imitation as the best form of flattery. And keep up all your good work of being. Thank you.

  37. Grrl you are gorgeous inside and out! Rock what you got. Haters are always gonna hate. We live in a culture that, rather than teaching us to love and accept ourselves and each other, teaches us to point fingers and tear each other down … to fear difference – even within ourselves. But loving ourselves is one way we fight back. It’s also a way we show others that they are also ok even if they’re “different.” I know self-acceptance is easier said than done. It’s something I have to work at every single day. But dammit we are worth it.

  38. what a babe! YOUR DRESS+THAT SWEATER=THE CUTEST! I hope you find the peace with yourself that you seek.

  39. Just wanna say:

    Rock it on out, girl. Because I think all our bodies have spent enough time being hated.

    this fat queer cis femme (who has hair in places women aren’t “supposed to” too. fuck that noise.)

  40. I’m struggling and working to love my own fat body.
    Your essay is wonderful and smart and I love your fatshion (sic)
    and admire you for what you do for yourself.
    It can be exhausting to be kind to oneself and to be in the world.
    I love what Larisa said above, and I’m going to keep your words
    and strengths close to my heart.
    Thank you and best wishes and love to you. R.

  41. Such an empowering article! Thank you Mey – seeing such a beautiful woman, an amazing human being has really made my day. Love, Love!

  42. Body self-love is so hard for so many female-identified people, be they cis- or trans, and it means so much to me to read stories from anyone else who is honest and able to speak to the work they do to love themselves. As I struggle with my own body image and gender identity, all I can say is thank you, and please keep doing this work alongside us, and keep being you, because you seem like someone I would just love to know.

    I appreciate your candidness, and I envy your photos and fashion sense. I would so love to get style advice from you!

  43. I’m a skinny cis lady and I freaking loved this. You are lovely and I think we would be friends. Keep on keeping on!

  44. I was afraid this would be missing the point of the article, but since everyone else is saying it: damn, girl. You’re stunning.

    Also I’ve noticed that almost every (positive) comment has made a point of saying ‘girl’. Which is … kinda neat? I dunno. Whenever someone specifically refers to me as ‘man’ or ‘dude’ I feel pretty good, but I dunno if it works the other way.

    [disclaimer: i’m FAAB genderqueer and am really, really shit at passing as male]


    Seriously, it felt like I was reading the story of my transition, I live in a small town in Vermont, so my clothing options are basically limited to a couple places 45mins away. So I’ve never really tried extremely hard to try anything new fashion wise because for a long time I wasn’t comfortable, but now even though I am much more secure in myself, the cost and lack of options are still a huge barrier.

  46. You are beautiful, and the happier you feel the more you glow. I’m a woman and happy to be, but I’ve never been able to identify with what our culture thinks women should look and act like. I’ve spent 33 years of hate-judging my body for not conforming to this horrible, rigid and utterly unrealistic standard. It’s taken the long love of my best friend-turned-husband to help me heal from our culture’s sickness, and this sickness is rampant. I am so sympathetic that you had to experience this all at once in such an overwhelming wave, but in a way it aligns you with all women in our culture, because no matter how much we fit the standard, we are all struggling inside to feel right and beautiful in our own skin.

  47. Mey, you are beautiful. Beauty is not your shape or your size or your body. It is the ability to enter a room and display so much fire that nobody wants to look away from you. You have that ability. Remember that.

  48. What an amazing woman you are. As a fat, hairy cis-woman it’s hard enough navigating a culture that is misogynistic and fat phobic, let alone dealing with all the transphobia as well.

    You have gorgeous style and I wish you all the confidence and happiness in the world.

  49. what struck the most, what was so moving was this,

    “My body is my own and not here for other’s critique or objectification.”

    yes! such a great reminder. thank you. beautifully written!

  50. Lady, you are THE FLYEST and THE BRAVEST for sharing your truth with us! Thank you thank you for being so honest and cool. Also on the clothing tip from one plus-sized queer to another, check out Re/Dress online. http://www.etsy.com/shop/redressvintageshop I really loved your article and your outlook. Yowsa! Go ahead, woman!

  51. You are totally beautiful and smart and cool!

    I kinda know how you feel, as a fat woman, anyways. For the longest time I hated my big belly and big thighs and big boobs and saggy arms and weirdly pinched waist. But gradually I learned that people do find me attractive, and generally, when I feel great about myself and my appearance, other people pick up on that and they feel great about me, too. And now I love myself, and I find myself encouraging other people to love themselves, too.

  52. Not that you need my opinions as validation, but you express yourself brilliantly, you’re a critical thinker, you’re beautiful, you have a FANTASTIC sense of style and proportion and you know exactly how to showcase your body in its best light. People can be assholes. I hope you continue to post photos of yourself on your blog; I for one, would visit the site just to see what you’re wearing and get some ideas for myself!

  53. Gorgeouuuus! Your sense of style is dazzling. You’ll always be yourself, no matter what people may say so let them know you’re gonna work it anyway. Confidence is hot.

  54. I like how you were able to express a situation that can be complex, painful, and difficult in a way that is uplifting and fun to read. Nice writing.

  55. DAMN, this was great, and so are you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and struggles (and amazing fashion sense) with us. <3

  56. I don’t know why we suffer, but we all do.

    I hope you find peace, don’t know why, I just like you.

    And you seem like a cool chick, Mey.

  57. I think you are so gorgeous and very sexy! I love your fashion style, too. The glasses really fit your face, and your makeup is awesome. First dress + belt? OMG WANT

  58. Such an interesting perspective… Want you to know that you are not alone. One of the “perks” of being a woman is how everyone feels entitled to pass judgement on your body, and subject you to ideals and standards that are self-contradictory such they are unattainable, even to movie stars, without plastic surgery. You are joined by millions who want to enjoy their bodies but find clothing distribution so restrictive that nearly half of women in the US don’t fit into available sizes. (The median size is around 12-14). While much of your journey is specific to being a trans woman, THIS experience is central to being female full stop. Wish it weren’t so…

  59. Great, honest and thought provoking article… and as so many others have already pointed out, you are a cutie with a great sense of style :)

  60. I want your style….seriously loving your fashion :)

    and as another fat woman, clothing swaps are the bestest. finding people online or in person about your size and swapping clothes instead of taking them to goodwill. I do it all the time and I like meeting new people and getting infusions of new styles depending on my partner.

  61. This post is amazing! And while looks aren’t everything, damn girl! You’re beautiful! And your clothes are amazing. xoxox

  62. Autostraddle consistently publishes some of the best writing on the internet.
    I cannot tell you how much I love this. Thank you. <3


  63. I’m at the airport right now with a lot of anxiety because the arseholes that were making fun of me at the security check line will be on the same flight as me. So thanks a lot for this article it really helps a lot to make me feel a bit better! And I was quite fragile already because someone I knew killed themselves yesterday. Sorry if that’s too much to share, I just wanted to remind to the haters here that say they speak for all of us and criticize our fears that articles like these can sometimes help save lives and that their words might sometimes help take lives. Well, thanks again, off to the plane now :)

  64. One of the most interesting things I find about the trans perspective is the way transpeople can really share what it’s like to be on one side of the gender spectrum (as perceived by the world) and then the other. This is the part I’m referencing:

    “Apparently, now my size is fair play. As a guy, the last time I remember someone making fun of me for being fat was in the ninth grade, but as a woman, I get comments on my weight almost every time I post pictures on my blog.”

    I remember reading Jenny Finney Boylan’s book “She’s Not There” a long time ago, and really taking in the contrast of her social and hormonal experience in a MAAB body and then after transition. As a ciswoman, part of the reason I love hearing from transsisters and transbrothers is that your perspectives really showcase the way women (no matter the pre-fixe) are treated in this society and the gender divide in general.

    So, welcome to being a woman and welcome to the not-so-fun part of being a woman. You are now too in a glass case and ripe for comments from EVERYONE.

    Note: If I said anything bothersome in my comment – transphobic or just ignorant – please feel free to correct me.

    • No, I think your comment is quite perceptive and wise … as a cisgendered female friend of mine once exclaimed to me; ‘Welcome to Womanhood.’

  65. Commenting for the first time ever (I’ve been lurking for about 3 years) to say Mae, you’re amazing and this article was wonderful.

  66. Hells yes! And I wish you al the best in disregarding negative comments, both in this thread and in the outside world. That’s one of the biggest challenges all people face, disregarding negativity. So very happy for you and your life journey. :)

  67. Thank you for writing this! I am a cisgender woman but I can relate to so much of this. I am 5’11” and have broad shoulders and fat. My feet are a size 11 wide and I can never find girl shoes. People feel it’s their right to not only comment on my fat, but tell me that I look like a man because I am tall and wearing a hoodie, or laugh that they thought I was a man wearing a dress. It makes me feel uncomfortable in my own gender. I feel that I’ve gotten to a point where I love myself, and I know I am beautiful. But I still feel insecure, because I know what kind of attitudes are out there.

    One time I walked into a store and this guy looked at me, cocked his head and said “Damn you’re tall. Why are you so tall?” I looked at him flatly and responded, “Genetics?” After which he left me alone. When I told my dad later, he laughed and said I should have told the guy that I had 23 surgeries. I thought that was funny. Maybe I will say that next time.

    • That is hilarious. As a 6’1 trans woman when I get height questions I just inform the overly inquisitive that the heels are built in.

  68. Sweety im right there with you. im a fulltime ts since 6/2012 and i feel your every pain. i love you for writing such an incredible article

  69. I’m a longtime reader back to the days of the L Word recaps… word, seems like yesterday. Anyways, I’ve never commented here or on any other site, but I just wanted to thank you and all of the other authors who’ve been writing about trans issues. These articles help to educate people who might not be familiar with what it’s like or what language to use or… stuff. Not everyone is lucky enough to have first or second hand experience with it. For someone like me (I’m either an effeminate boy or a masculine girl, take your pick… I do) it’s just comforting to hear stories like my own. So yea, right on to the authors and a big high five to Autostraddle.

  70. Hey Mel!
    Been following you on tumblr forever, so glad you got this autostraddle gig! I relate to you so much, I and I hope this wall of affirming comments does great stuff for your self esteem!
    (btw, you’re gorgeous obviously!)

  71. thank you so much for being so brave and fierce and wonderful and sharing your story! also i fucking love your style. that floral dress/red belt/denim jacket combo is killing me.

  72. If I saw you on the street, I would actually stop for a minute to be excited about your eyeglasses.

  73. You are totally styling. All of your outfits are great, but that glasses sweater takes the cake!

  74. I read size 12 shoe and thought, “she’s so lucky!”. The grass is always greener I suppose. (I’m a 6’1, size 15 shoe, 400lb, cisgender queer woman. Hairs grow where I would rather they not. The public feels free to comment on my shape. I am human and alive and that is my validity.) I appreciated your story! Thank you for telling it.

  75. You are my hero! I love seeing women work towards self love and love of our bodies. Thank-you for sharing this and let’s keep this conversation up!

  76. Reading this article, I almost shed a tear! Sorry, I’m at work and typing this up quick. Anywho, I was currently in the US Army, and one of my, “battles” was a trans male. I never fully realized it, he had come out telling me he was gay, which to me.. HEY, whatever brings happiness to you, the better! My mother as well is gay, so to me I’m all for finding your happiness and love in life with whoever you find it with! Anyways, I read this story and it automatically brought me back to when I looked him up online and seen pictures of who he really is… a beautiful, full-bodied woman. Let me tell you one this, GORGEOUS! To me beauty isn’t about having a barbie-sized body, beauty is what you portray in your life. My boyfriend told me the other day while I was looking in the mirror at myself, “nothing about you is a straight-line, and I love you for that.” Some people look at others with the concept of “society”, while others see the true value of a person from the inside. Just for you telling this story, I truly wish I had a friend like you where you see things that others don’t, and in my eyes… this makes you beautiful. Keep living your life, and looking for the beauties in life. Also, when I have rough times with myself. I make myself look in the mirror no matter how hard it gets, and tell myself, “I am beautiful.” It doesn’t always help, but it makes the day feel just a little brighter. :)

  77. Great article, thanks for sharing your perspectives and experiences!

    Also, why are you afraid of whales?

    • Have you seen whales? They are giant and live in deep, open water (which are two more of my fears) and they are giant. I think just the idea of being in the open, deep water with a giant creature that could come at me from any angle is terrifying to me.

  78. You are beautiful and amazing! Never let anyone tell you what you should look like, no one should have that kind of power (or any power!) over your body, but you. The amount of pressure that we as women are under, in terms of how to look, what to weigh, etc. is insane and intolerable. It is stressful and useless. If you haven’t already, you should read “the Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf, she lays out all these issues in an amazingly clear way.
    Anyway: you are beautiful inside and out, and shouldn’t care what the haters say!

  79. Great article. You look great, and I’m glad you feel great. You ARE sexy as hell, because you own it, and allow yourself to be. I’m a cisgender woman, 6′ tall, size 11 shoe, shoulders like a linebacker, and have been as large as a size 24, although I currently hover around a 16-18. I’ve weighed as much as 280. I’m currently around 220, WAY above my “ideal” BMI. BMI is a crock of s**t. I’ve been weight training, because I looooove being strong as hell. I feel sexy. I’m big and curvy and muscular. I walk into a room and everybody knows it. Damn, I AM sexy. Ask my partner. He’s 5′ 10″, about 175 soaking wet, is the love of my LIFE and thinks I’m the hottest woman alive.

    GO YOU! Loved your article. Own it!

  80. Yeah, I’m going to join in the gushing and tell you that you’re gorgeous, and also tell you that what you’ve said about dysphoria rings true. I feel for you and I wish you the absolute best. :)

  81. Sigh. I can relate to this article all too completely. I’ve been fat for my entire life, and am currently in a women’s size 26 dress and size 12 shoe. One thing that has always astounded me is how our entire culture thinks it has the right to treat fat people like worthless pieces of shit just for existing. Why does my body size illegitimize me as a human being? People think a person’s size gives them a free card to make as many degrading, dehumanizing, and utterly cruel remarks as they want, because after all “being fat is a choice. We’re all just lazy.” Well let me tell you, nobody chooses to be ostracized. Sizeism is a real thing and it’s fucking terrible.
    When I’m feeling dysphoric about my body, I try to remember that a fat body is a radically queer body. I believe that queerness extends not only to those who are gender- related or sexual minorities, but any group of people that is forced to the outskirts of society. Fat People, Poor People, immigrants, People of Color, Homeless People, Drug Addicts… All are a queer in their own way.
    So every time you step out of your house in that radically queer fat body of yours, every time you dress that bodacious body up in a hot outfit, every time you look at yourself in the mirror and think “damn I look good today”, remember, YOU WIN! because your mere existence as a fat person who feels sexy is enough to completely implode society’s puny little brain. You’re tearing down the patriarchy, kicking every shallow ignorant bigot where the sun don’t shine, and being RADICAL AS FUCK simply by putting on a cute outfit and a dash of confidence and deciding “I’m not going to let anyone make me feel bad about myself today.”

  82. Hi Mey. I read your first person Fat,Trans and (working on Being) Fine With It and I guess I just wanted to say that it really helped me although I am not trans I was put into a wheelchair for what will be a year June 23 and I have been told that I will never be able to walk again. I went through a depression, gained weight, refused to recognize my own body, and I was terrified to go out into public and to see the people I know, I honestly couldn’t look in the mirror and see my own worth all I could see was an ugly crippled undesirable body. I Just really want you to know that I read your first person and I can’t tell you how much hope it gave me and I know that the issues I have with my body are different than yours but when I read about you learning to love your body it gave me the strength to start recognizing my body for what it is and learning to still love it. Thank you for being brave enough to write that because you did I was able to make improvements to how I viewed myself my worth and my opinion of my desirability. I am still working hard to love myself and I do have bad days but I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am that you wrote that first person because if you had never written that and if I had never read it I don’t know where I would be know although I am almost positive that I would still be that person loathing their body so thank you so much -Adrian Fox

  83. Self-love is a struggle sometimes even for the most fierce femmes out there. Thanks for sharing, Mey.

  84. I’m a cis woman who is 5,7”, wears a size 11 shoe, and is size 18/20. It’s crippling to deal with fat shaming, society’s unrealistic standards for us women. I just want to tell you that you are a beautiful, strong woman, and I hope that your journey continues to show you this!

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