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Cisgender People Practice Gender-Affirming Care Every Damn Day

Young woman receiving eyelash lamination procedure in a beauty salon, close up

Gender affirming healthcare is one of the frontlines of the hate movement against trans people. Transphobes go to great lengths to demonize gender affirming care, labeling it anything from delusion to mutilation in their efforts to erase trans people’s existence.

But what transphobes don’t want to admit is how often cis people engage in gender-affirming practices themselves.

Twitter user River pointed this fact out by sharing her practice of removing unwanted facial hair.

As River points out, women aren’t expected to have facial hair (even though many do, including me), so removing it is seen as a normal and healthy way of affirming one’s gender identity. At least, if you’re a cis woman.

Some cis people go even further to affirm their gender identity—and they’re right to, if it’s what they want or need for their bodies. Writing for NBC News, Justin T. Brown shares his experience growing breast tissue as a teenage boy:

As a teen boy who identified as a boy — randomly sprouting breasts really, really sucked. I hated my body, wore a shirt in the pool, dreaded the school locker room, dressed in layers and walked hunched over to hide my shape. I lived in constant fear of nipple-grabbers at school (teen boys are weird) and being outed as a “boob-haver.” I was uncomfortable and embarrassed 24/7 and had about zero percent confidence in myself, all because of the misalignment between how I felt I should look and how I actually looked. 

However, Brown reports that a procedure to have the tissue removed was life-changing for him, writing, “Receiving care that affirmed my perceptions of my gender drastically changed my life for the better. I can attest that having mind-body alignment feels like a superpower.”

If pressed on issues like these—what’s the harm in letting trans and nonbinary people access the same gender-affirming care that cis people do?—transphobes will often argue that gender-affirming care for trans people “goes against nature.” If we all went along with nature, though, we’d see many more men with breasts, women with facial hair, and other varieties of human bodies. If we truly let nature dictate our self-expression, gender would reveal itself as an intricate constellation of differences, and not the simple binary that transphobes grasp at.

There are myriad gender-affirming practices, ranging from choosing a pair of shoes to modifying one’s body, that cis people engage in every single day. Gender expression can be joyous, expansive, and beautifully experimental. It’s a shame that transphobes are trying to turn it into a prison instead.

(featured image: Elena Kharchenko / Getty Images)

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Julia Glassman (she/they) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at