The Case For A Trans Captain America [Pride Week]
Steve Rogers is a trans man. I don’t say this as an argument, I say this as a truth. Steve Rogers is trans.
The idea of becoming a new person is magic. It simply is. But nowadays we use science as a substitute for magic, despite portraying their results as one and the same. Think of Frankenstein rising from the dead due to lightning, a cocktail of chemicals, and a mad man. How is that any different than a magic spell? It’s not. Becoming something new is magic. I’ve written elsewhere about how I first realized I was trans due to a magic ritual.
The entire process of transition is tinged with magical iconography and imagery. Taking hormones can be seen as a form of communion. Heck, “hormones are magic!” is a common half-joking/half-serious remark you’ll find trans people use. Undergoing surgery can be a form of baptism.
(I would like to note that neither hormones nor surgery are necessary to be trans. Lots of people don’t pursue either, and that has zero effect on who they are. You don’t need to pass or get recognized as your gender for it to be real. I want to make that clear.)
But it’s true, the process of transitioning has a lot in common with religious and magical practices. Hell, rebirth is an almost central idea, as our old names are often called “dead names.” (I disagree with that nomenclature, but the fact that the idea of our old names being dead now, goes to show you how true the idea of transition as rebirth is.)
Now, let’s talk about Captain America.
Rebirth is fundamental to who Captain America is. Before his rebirth, he was scrawny Steve Rogers, who fought in the streets of Brooklyn. Then he became Captain America, the soldier that he always dreamed he would be.
And he became that way through Project Rebirth. After being denied entry to the army because of physical reasons that had nothing to do with who he was inside, he was changed, given what the government believed was the optimal body for him to have --- using chemicals and surgeries. Under the watch of his doctors, he transitioned from Steve Rogers to Captain America.
His story is our story. Sure, it’s not all trans people’s story. As I mentioned already, taking hormones and undergoing surgery are not needed or universal (even transitioning is not needed for someone to be trans; being in the closet doesn’t stop you from being you), but they’re common enough ingredients that I feel fine saying that Steve Rogers' story is the story of a trans man. He was denied a chance to fight because of his body, despite his spirit; he underwent training and surgery to gain a body that would allow everyone else to see him as the man he has always been.
There’s no difference between the strong man standing up to bullies on the streets of Brooklyn and the man fighting against Nazis in Germany. The only difference is in our perception of him.
Steve Rogers already is a trans man. All I’m arguing is that Marvel should proudly admit it.