As it happens, though, we are all implicated in breast cancer. My mother-in-law had it, and as she stubbornly works herself to exhaustion caring for my father-in-law, who is currently much more ill, my greatest fear is not that he becomes more ill, but that she has a recurrence, and suddenly worsens to a point where she can no longer insist on their capacity to manage on their own. Because my mother-in-law has had it, and because my partner inherited "dense breast tissue" down her matrilineal line, my partner is classified as being of greater risk, and gets imaged regularly. She recently had a scare. It turned out to be artefactual, a flicker of the ultrasound machine misunderstanding itself.
And the time will come, soon enough, for me to join the diagnostic parade. According to a presentation I attended on trans health, for trans women and nonbinary people who had previously been assigned male, the risks of breast cancer appear to reach parity with cisgender women's risks after about five years of HRT. Assuming that I remain on HRT for at least five years--and I have every intention of remaining on HRT--then I should get mammography at the same ages as women of my risk category. Fortunately, I am aware of no breast cancer history in my family, so it would not begin until 50. At the age of 50, my nonbinary gender identity will receive a peculiar sort of confirmation through the androgyny of my routine examinations: A doctor will examine my prostate, and then write a radiology prescription for me to get my tits smashed in between glass plates.
So I have read The Undying, now, and I would urge everyone to. As Anne points out, anyone with breast tissue--including men--can get breast cancer. And we all live in the capitalist carcigenosphere that she describes as no one else has or can.
This post is not so much about Anne Boyer or about The Undying, though, as it is about my own very peculiar experience of reading it. That is, imagining the possibility that the A cups which I waited so long to pursue, that I am so glad to have grown, that fill me with joy whenever they are caressed lovingly by my partner, that they could someday betray me. Having delayed my transition for so long, I want to live, if for no other reason than to have the duration of my joys outlast that of my self-suppression. If continuation of life should at some point require the sacrifice of the portion of my body that most readily symbolizes the reality of my transition, it would still be worth it, but the irony would be agonizing.