Unlike most trans men, I never really suffered from a Napoleon complexion, feeling emasculinated due to being short.

Because transsexual men are still born female, we’re genetically going to end up shorter than what’s “typical” for cis men. Unless we could get puberty blockers and otherwise be able to transition medically early on, we are predisposed to ending up at heights typical of cis women.

Growing up in a state with a high immigrant population, I was able to avoid this. Many of the men I have met and interacted with in school, at church, at work were all shorter than the typical white American who was born and raised stateside. Even at a height of 5’5” (165 cm), while below the “average” or “desired” minimum height of 5’10”, I could be considered “average” for a typical New Jerseyan.

Local celebrities like Danny DeVito and Joe Pesci are my height or shorter. Big shots like Tom Cruise, same thing. There’s a whole list of them!

It’s really hard looking for clothes to fit when you’re short and husky.

But I get it. Men’s jeans at most retail stores, especially big-box or discount retailers, don’t come with inseams for people with short legs. (I can sometimes find a 29” inseam, but those are rare, and often can only get one pair at a time. I just ordered 3 pairs from Carhartt online [not an affiliate link!], all the same style, all 28” and fit me perfectly!) For curvier guys, they have to find widths based on their hips, not their waist—which can induce dysphoria; they also have to deal with a super baggy, sloppy look, or pay for tailoring, and most of us just can’t afford such a luxury! I have been grateful that I was not born with wide hips, and since adolescence (barring the two years living with my ex and undergoing conversion therapy) have been lucky to be able to find and wear men’s jeans that generally fit well. You also have the problem with packing; I choose not to, because it causes dysphoria for me, but also being overweight and having a large labia looks covers up my lack of a penis.

As well with other clothing… Tees usually look big, baggy, and sloppy. Shoes and boots are usually too large, rarely getting below a men’s size 8. Blazers look too long and too big, or maybe too tight in the chest but too big on the waist; just the inability to look for a blazer that fits looks unprofessional on a short, often curvy body. Long sleeves cover the majority of the hands. My “no-show” socks still stick out of my sneakers and work shoes. Jackets in the winter time are longer on us, which makes it harder to shovel. If you’re curvy (even if you’re binding), this further limits to finding clothing that can properly fit you.

I know how we all love the fact big hoodies can hide our curves and anything else that causes body dysphoria, but sometimes, sadly, you can’t wear those hoodies and sweatpants for some situations. 😮‍💨

Not to mention how many things in life still center around cis men of that 5’10” height: reaching from the top shelf at home or a grocery store. Furniture where my feet don’t touch the floor. Room temperature (being shorter, thus smaller, makes you more prone to feeling colder compared to cis men of average and taller heights.) The heights of standing desks that don’t readjust their heights. Countertops. Dating (which can already be complicated being trans). Being stuck behind taller people at concerts and parades. People associating class, intelligence, sexiness, and career potential with height.

We still have our advantages. Looking younger compared to your peers (maybe not a plus when you are young, but at 35 I’m getting older, and I still get confused for a college student sometimes!), and if you still have that student ID after graduating, the number of student discounts you can still get. Getting prime spots in group photos. Being able to still fit in ever-increasingly small airplane seats. It builds personality, character, resilience. People underestimate me. I can get into and under things that would be harder for my taller peers to enter, which is good when needing to fix furniture and other fixtures. I don’t have to worry as much about bumping my head into anything hanging off ceilings. I could easily away with a full-size or queen-sized bed when I move in with a potential girlfriend, and I definitely can fit under blankets, even those light ones meant for the couch. I can fit more of my clothes into the laundry, thus fewer loads to wash. And if it’s something you don’t mind, you can shop the boys’ or teens section and save some money!

Probably the best advantage I have is when I hear cis men complain about their height is a joke—as I’m a trans man—I reply, “Hey, at least you’re not short at both ends!” 😝

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