My job at a women's shelter was the first time I met any transgendered people.
I thought they'd be known as transvestites or drag queens. I was from a small town. I didn't know about transgendered people. I didn't understand the issues.
I didn't think anyone wou(more)ld want to be a woman on purpose.
"God doesn't make mistakes," was a phrase I was raised on, a cliche with the air of Gospel despite evidence to the contrary in my demented family, my weird town, my queer self.
Not that I had bigoted notions. Or maybe I did. I was clueless, for sure. And being clueless was just as unhelpful as being a bigot.
Looking back, what did those women need? They were not in a position of power. They were on waiting lists to be assessed "stable" enough to qualify for surgery. They made do. They held their heads up high. It seemed like these women had access to a self-assuredness, a femaleness, I had never known.
Staff called it gender confusion. I saw no such confusion. To claim womanhood here - in poverty, under bureaucratic scrutiny, in a public life without comforts - required certainty, not confusion.
This is retrospect speaking. At the time, I was amazed a man would want to dress as a woman. I thought that's what it was. A disguise, a switching-over. I could still see so-called "masculine" features under the lipstick and styled hair and inadequate street hormones. I worried they would decide to change back, or would be insulted if I treated them like women.
I realized I thought men looked down on women. They did not ever want to be like us. I did not appreciate the blurred lines of gender. I thought gender was a stricture and inarguable. (less)
A simple word, "she."
"She" a word I force
through tightly pressed teeth.
Hissing, spitting, spite.
Her name I exchanged
for the small pronoun.
Perhaps I'm petty,
a touch vindictive.
I'll admit my faults
while she sits pretty
and feigns innocence,
her words falling from
smiling, blood red lips.
Perfect little lies
like honey trapping
Brain undergoing tempestuous peril
Chest rising and falling in monstrous waves
Lungs trying to keep pace with the out-pour of letters onto paper
The pen scribbling madly, furiously
The hand cramping and shaking, smudged with ink
(more) The writer purging her being trying to come up with one word
A tremendously important word
An ever so simple yet endlessly infuriating pronoun(less)
Being a professional ‘noun’ is always fought with danger as you could end up being the ‘subject’ in a lengthy prison ‘sentence’. If not the ‘subject’, you could easily find yourself the ‘object’ of ‘ridicule’. Personally, and also because I’m light-fingered, I’d rather be a ‘transit(more)ive verb’ as I find it easy to take an ‘object’ or two. (less)