And yet you imagine a word
on a forty-year-old page
can invalidate all of these?
Yes, I was assigned-female-at-birth,
grew up behind net curtains with my secrets concealed inside,
where nobody (and least of all me)
understood quite what was denied.
I refused to answer to my given name at five,
hid growing curves under baggy sweaters at twelve,
felt weird and wrong around girls who wore make-up and heels
and spent their weekends shopping for pink lace bras:
that was all I knew. There were things that I never tried to do,
because it just wasn’t ‘done’, within that net; and many things
that I didn’t say, and couldn’t have said, however I tried,
because the words weren’t even invented yet.
There wasn’t a language, then, for people like me.
#TransgenderBoy and #TransgenderMan were years away,
The teachers could have been fired just for saying ‘gay’.
So, in conclusion: secrets: kept.
Yet your ‘AFAB’ cannot define me now.
and if you dare try to delete me, I WILL resist.
Assigning pink lace flowers to hide what you can’t accept
can no more erase the blue core of a #TransMan like me
than King Canute’s command ‘Thus far, and no further’
could ever hold back the inrushing Solent tide. Whatever
you choose to call me, whatever you say, I will ride the waves
to places you never dreamed, and live my self-made life
as my truest self anyway. There’s no way in again, now I’m out.
Because this is who I am, and have always been,
and the only alternative is…
Let’s not go there.
I am here.
So take your eraser, take your net curtains, and go;
I am still here, no longer silent, at this meeting-place
of sea and shore, persistently pushing on as the waves do,
and reminding myself day after day that there are more
ways than one to be a man. There are more ways than one
for the deep essence of a human soul to survive.