If I’m dating you, that means I’m dating all of you. I want to know all your favorite things, and listen to you endlessly about what you’re passionate about. I want you excitedly talking too loud about how you’re going to change the world. I want to know about your siblings, and have lunch with your parents. I want to know if you have a good relationship with your family or not, and why. I want to know your fears and anxieties and what keeps you awake at night. I want to know when you first learned how to ride a bike, and when you got your first heart break. I want to know about the summer you felt most alive. I want to know about how you planned your wedding as a child, and the names you picked out for your hypothetical children. I want to know your mood just by looking at your face. I want to know who your best friends are. I want us to be able to communicate with an expression, and to have so many inside jokes it feels like we’re living in our own world. When I date you, I don’t want just a portion, I want the whole damn thing. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the down right perfect. I don’t settle for half ass relationships.
To the children who loved Harry Potter, I want to say your enthusiasm was the real magic. I so enjoyed being on the journey with you. And to the adults who bought the Harry Potter books and devoured them, I just want to say, those books were for children.
My parents were living in Oklahoma while my dad was in the airforce and my mom was pregnant with my older brother during that time they went to the rattlesnake festival and my mom was going to eat some rattlesnake and a lady stopped her and told her that is she ate it her baby was going to be cursed so every time something goes wrong for him now we say its becuase my mom ate rattlesnake that one time when she was pregnant with him
*is really nice, smells okay, is clean, responsible, compassionate, funny. Helps the underpriviledge in third world countries. Can cure cancer. Volunteers in a retirement home*
what a nice guy. Yeah maybe I'm okay with kissing him? idk
oh my god. What is happening. How is this goddess walking amongst the rest of us mortals. How is it possible to be so soft and nice and I feel so lucky to exist at the same time as you, I want to have your children.
As well as written poetry, it is important to look at spoken word, or slam poetry, because it allows trans authors to convey their poetry in an even more tangible way. Having an audience present works to reify the ideals of community and solidarity. Underlining unity is powerful, both within the trans community and for the purpose of coalition building, moving toward support that goes beyond the art world.
In the introduction to the Transgender Studies Reader,
“(De)Subjugated Knowledges,” Susan Stryker discusses the language of
gender and the ways in which material determinism permeates Western
culture. She states, “The relationship between bodily sex, gender role,
and subjective gender identity are imagined to be strictly,
mechanically, mimetic – a real thing and its reflections” (Stryker 9).
Transgender studies challenges this idea, focusing on social
construction through language and cultural narratives.
three of these poems interact with this idea of sex, gender roles, and
gender as it is experienced being lumped together. Such a fabrication
leads to the assumption of other individuals’ gender identities, as the
person doing the assuming attempts to make sense of an expression that
does not fit their binary philosophy.
“How to Love Your Body in 10 Easy Steps” by Ollie Schminkey
It is immediately clear in the first few lines that this poem grapples with mental health, as Schminkey’s first step involves unhealthy eating habits: “eating less will make you feel as if you have control.” They also talk about binding in unhealthy ways in order to “trick yourself into feeling complete.” Without societal acceptance and the supposed stability of the gender binary, the search for control of the self and self-image can manifest in potentially dangerous ways.
Schminkey describes the impact of rejection, “Man, woman, whatever./You are the whatever.” Outside of the binary, people are essentially dehumanized and labeled deviant. This creates a hostile environment where dysphoria may take its root. The poem continues, “Do not call it what it is/do not call it transgender/do not say dysphoria/just say depression, no qualifier” (Schminkey). Calling it dysphoria is to recognize a problem stemming from
society and normative standards of gender expression, beauty, and so on. With this poem, however, Schminkey calls attention both to the condition of dysphoria and to its silencing.
“Ritual” by Muggs Fogarty
Fogarty talks about material determinism extensively in this poem. “What parts of you are heavy with fluid?/which direction do your shirt buttons button?/where do your glands swell?” These lines refer to the ways society writes gender on bodies without asking, only concerned with fitting physical appearance into socially constructed category. They use repetition to signify the numerous instances they have been asked for their name assigned at birth, as if the listener hears their poetry and continues to ask, looking for “gender lies,” some trace of inauthentic expression (Fogarty).
When referring to binding their breasts, Fogarty declares, “I was so afraid others would notice their absence, especially if they had never noticed mine.” This makes more powerful the message the poet is delivering, that bodies are more valued than the minds, expressions, and identities that they hold. Especially in reference to the commodification and objectification of women,this poem is relevant to trans studies in its critique of society’s attention to the presence or absence of certain anatomical characteristics in determining gender judgments.
“A Letter to the Girl I Used to Be” by Ethan Smith
In this poem, Smith reconciles the memory of himself and his dreams growing up with the reality of his current life and the ways in which those dreams have shifted. He begins by addressing his former self – using his name given at birth. This serves as a way to separate himself wholly from the person he was before transitioning. He speaks of memories told to him by his father which he does not remember, but moves on to discuss family, which complicates the narrative of the poem. As he describes beginning hormone therapy, Smith expresses, “I thought about your children, how I wanted them too.” His desire for children is separate from his gender expression, yet the way that bodies are looked upon by society produces a dissonance, dysphoria. In order for his body to fit within norms for his experienced gender, he no longer retains the ability to produce life, something that had been precious to him. In saying this, Smith removes trans bodies from a pathologized and objectified space and focuses on a future oriented one, where trans-identified people express the desire for new families of their own. He validates that struggle and represents narratives different from the fight for recognition in one’s current family, which is usually the only family related issue discussed in such a context.
At the end of the poem, after telling of his former struggles with mental health – “In therapy you said you wouldn’t make it to twenty-one. You were right” – and coming to terms with his gender expression, Smith provides an optimistic viewpoint. He affirms there was and still is a place for the memory of himself growing up, ending with “P.S. I never hated you” (Smith).
Would you please not tell your kids that you’ve given up on their sex lives or tell them you can’t wait for them to have kids? Same goes with “I can’t wait for grandkids!” when they are the only child/you’ve made it clear you don’t think their other siblings would have them. Your children will have kids if, how, and when they’re prepared.
“You are the most selfish, hateful person I know.”
“We will never accept you as a man. You are too small to ever be a real man.”
“You will always be a sad tiny girl pretending to be a man.”
“No one will love you.”
“This isn’t normal.”
“Do this for us. Stop taking the T.”
“See how you are killing your father and I?”
“Go away, whatever you are”
“Could you not call anymore? I hate your voice it upsets me.”
These are all things my family has said to me. I just want love. I just want to hear it’s okay, we’ll try.
But that love isn’t for me. I want it to be though. I want it to be so bad. Your transgender children want love. If you are parent, sibling, friend and saying these things to a loved one. Please stop. Please think about your words.
Sticks and stones can break my bones but words from loved ones leave scars deeper then any stick can cut and stone can break.