Who owns the transsexual — reflections on the sexual ownership of trans bodies

Abigail Silversmith Irfan
3 min readNov 30, 2021

It was sometime last week this happened. I tried calling my mom again, a desperate attempt at asking for support. One would think a woman of experience in working in feminist groups would would be kinder, at least when her daughter tells her that somebody sexually assaulted her.

By the act of transitioning you are signaling to the world that you are available for the sexual consumption of men

This was what she said. Not a thing you would expect from a woman who did her PhD on patriarchal construction of divorce laws. Shouldn’t have judged the person by her papers. Rookie mistake. Might Repeat again. Who knows?

I wonder now — Did she really care for me if the first thing she asked me after me telling her about my sexual assault is “Are you going to college?” and “You are inviting this onto yourself”. Why do I still care for her if the directionality of her care is skewed in ways that harm me? Thoughts of a sad drunk girl … but thoughts nonetheless.

Who really cares for the transsexual body? The transsexual themselves? How can i? It definitely is not my primary reaction with respect to my body. It never has been. Care is something one engages in with individuals and objects of a positive emotional proximity. That was taken from me long ago. From the time that i was told that i was to be dress, behave etc. The cis-heterosexist brahminical capitalist islamophobic patriarchy binds all among us who deviates from it’s ranks. In this aspect, i suppose, there is a hope in unification .. in liberation of our bodies from those who take it away from us. There is a clear gender and caste divide in sexual violence. This, I would argue, is among other things, because of hierarchies of ownership of the body.

One of the ways the society looks at transgender people is as deceivers — fraudulent imbeciles who are better treated with suspicion rather than with love. I think this is the reason why a lot of people, particularly cisgender men, want to have sex with trans women but treat us like rotten meat once the fucking is done.. after they have fucked us up. Does rotten meat own itself? or is it for the butcher to dispose as he sees fit?

Another way the society looks at us is like monsters — beings that defy morality and natural law, among other things. monsters are not to be trusted. They are meant to be caged — to be controlled by the “civilized” , “intelligent” and “rational” beings, the makers of the cages to house monstrous beings like myself, ranging from electroshock therapy equipments to date r*pe drugs to literature calling for our moral elimination.

It is not the transsexual that rapes the female body, as janice raymond says in her book, “The transsexual empire”, arguably one of the of the big sourcebooks academic transphobia; it is the world that rapes trans bodies with reckless abandon. That denies us access to proper protection. That commodifies us as objects to fuck . That denies us, like our cisgender sisters, access to things that keep us autonomous, healthy and safe.

My brother told me what happened to me was just a property violation. I disagree, as i would assume any halfway kind person would. I do not know what to say to him… I am not a halfway decent philosopher to engage with that line of thought. I hope he reconsiders. For his sake, and the people around him.

This is not my first rodeo with this kind of thing. Do not be worried about me. I can cope. I have people who took care of me during this — Pranya, Teresa, Kinshuk, Manogna, VJ, Nadika … people who i would call family. I worry for my siblings who do not. I worry for little kids who, like me once, had to grapple with sexual violence on their own.

i am just a sad, delirious, sleep deprived, clonazepam driven trans girl screaming into the void. I’ll probably do that ad mortem.

So who owns me? You tell me.

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