First off, fantastic writing! I appreciate not only the story but the detail you went into describing your feelings and response. I was especially interested in your description of how feelings of self worth and dignity are tied up in how we perceive our desirability, and how that specifically impacts trans women .
I have this theory that "beauty contests" are complete BS. I've watched people chase after other people who don't fit the arbitrary, made-up standards that these contests fabricate - and not because they were "settling;" their attractions were genuine.
I've had people I'm attracted to walk away because I'm too old, too young, too big, too skinny, too hairy, too bald, and the list goes on. Doesn't feel good - but the ones who stick around are extra-special to me as a result.
On the same note, if I used my friends' standards to choose my dates, I'd be attracted to no one I date.
We'll win the beauty contest that's important - finding someone who we can love and be loved by. The good news is there's lots of trophies.
Take that, Miss USA.
Thanks for this great writing!!