Like many before me, I have an affinity with transgender as monster metaphor. I feel the Strykerean rage, the chimeric assemblage of alien flesh and techno-science, constituted — in part — through phármakon* in all three senses: remedy, poison, and sacrifice. The monster is formed in the sacrafice of a life (pharmakós). The forgotten dredges of the living (pharmakoi), as a cis body cast off a cliff. Through poisons, institutional, alchemical, pharmacological, social, and political, the new body is wrought, subjectively more whole, a composite of soma and techne. Our alterity through this transformation is alienating and monstrous to some: to the villagers in the vale bellow who hear our howls echo from the mountain and recoil in fear, brandishing their pitchforks. Little do they know that they are created through the same schismatic processes. If monstrousness is a lack of naturalness in our creation, then we are all monsters. Transness is a mirror par excellence in which the other sees their own generative forces — if they’re brave.
Of course, there is an obvious disadvantage to this metaphorical association. Namely, it gives those who would do us harm an easy stone to cast. Thus we once more become the pharmakoi (the slave who is sacrificed for the purity of the polis). People are unable to read us as variations of what they are, techno assemblages of various dispotifs and other material forces, i.e. unnatural as all things human.
And yet, cis bodies are cloaked in an illusion, a narrative web of the natural. After all, the vagina is cast through a panoply of second-wave feminist goddess motifs as an eternal essence of Gia, Earth Mother, or Crone. Compared to this, what is a medically formed neo-vagina? A fuck hole? And yet, despite efforts to the contrary, the cis vagina, indeed, all human genitals and bodies are shaped by both seen and unseen human forces. Chemicals alter our biomolecular structure, altered by the very air we breathe and water we drink. We are byproducts of human ecosystemic technological fuckery — unseen forces which change and alter us. This is an extreme example, of course, but it illustrates how even the most nature focused of us, the organic eater, local shopper, all natural products consumer, is transformed through the constructed human environment. Obviously, there are more immediate examples: birth control, medication, hygiene products, surgery, pubic waxing, tattoos, Prince Alberts, cock rings, anal beads, dildos, to speak only of genitals. Are our bodies not similar? So much for the natural purity of the cis body. There is no natural biosphere, you can’t even carbon date past the onset of the nuclear age: you are a nuclear, lead ladened, bag of chemicals. It’s human to be unnatural: welcome to the Anthropocene, bitch!
And yet, the world isn’t ready for this queer revelation, to read the self in the other. We trans people are still banished to the mountain; the villagers aren’t ready to look in the mirror. And so I turn to the self, to my own kind. In her, the pharmakoi turned monster, I can find my own beauty. In her body, I feel my own embodiment resonating. Her arms are comforting and healing — other to other, but the same. We are both (un)becoming, aware of our fluctuation, our metallurgy, our (un)nature. I feel her in the constant transmutation of my mind, in the roiling sea of affective change, she prickles across softening flesh, a cyborg-monster queen bitch, just like me.
*phármakon is the root of our modern pharmacy. But, there is a further sense to the word. The sacrifice of a slave or criminal as a remedy or scapegoat to cure the city/society.