“The ability to keep bodily matters private is a privilege some of us will never have. Just ask a poor person on welfare, a fat person, a visibly disabled person, a pregnant woman. Ask a person of color whose ethnic heritage isn’t seemingly apparent. Just ask a seriously ill person, a gender ambiguous person, a non-passing transman or trans woman. All these people experience public scrutiny, in one way or another, of their bodies.
In this culture bodily difference attracts public attention. Privacy is not an option. Certainly as a disabled person, I never get a choice about privacy. Sometimes I can choose how to deal with gawking, how to correct the stereotypes and lies, how to live with my particular bodily history. But I don’t get to choose privacy, much less medical privacy. The first thing people want to know is what’s wrong with me. Sometimes they ask carefully about my disability, other times demand loudly about my defect. But either way they’re asking for a medical diagnosis. And if I choose not to tell, they’ll just pick one for me anyway and in the picking probably make a heap of offensive assumptions. The lack of privacy faced by poor people, fat people, disabled people, people of color, and visibly queer and gender variant people has many consequences connected to a variety of systems of oppression…
And so when I hear the argument that being trans is a private matter, I want to ask: do you know that bodily privacy is a privilege regulated by systems of power and control? And if you have that privilege, how are you using it, even when it’s laced with ambivalence and stress?”
Clare, Eli. “Body Shame, Body Pride: Lessons from the Disability Rights Movement.”