1.25.2017

Transgender Poetry

It has been far too long since I engaged in the creative endeavor of writing poetry, where "far too long" can be more precisely expressed as "almost two years". Given that my recently discovered transgender identity has been on my mind a lot these days, it made sense to use that topic as a springboard for a juicy new poetic concoction. So, without further ado, here is my latest creation:
In the most fleeting of moments, a hidden switch can flip,
And a journey of tremendous proportions can suddenly begin.
Masked by inertia and acidic apathy, concealed deep within,
A contrary identity lies dormant, but with a flippant quip
The visceral nature of the self quickly starts to emerge.
Rough razors remove unwelcome fibrous bodily protrusions,
And luscious lurid lacy garments dispel masculine illusions.
Naysayers swiftly relegate such exploration to an evil urge,
Something transient and perverted, to be kept in the dark
Gloomy confines of a closet. But when the truth comes out,
Even vigorous opposition can produce only temporary doubt.
Nefarious adversaries try to extinguish the joyful spark,
Decrying deviant gender expression as unnatural aberration,
Evincing prejudice and hatred in lieu of understanding.
Resisting the rigid confines of normativity can be demanding,
Whittling down our defenses and leading us to desperation.
Oppression and rejection cultivate shame and mental strife,
Making us question our human worth, piercing us to the core,
And yet we go on, reminding ourselves what we do this for.
Night gives way to daylight, and we resign ourselves to life.
Although this poem is partially inspired by my personal gender exploration, it intends to transcend my own experiences and seeks to speak to the struggles that the transgender community at large has faced and still has to deal with, particularly in the current political climate that threatens not just our civil rights but also our continued existence. The poetic medium is well-suited for dramatic embellishment for effect, but in this present iteration there really isn't a whole lot of embellishment because for many trans people the experience of discrimination and aggression by those who do not understand us is not only very real but also a daily occurrence.

I am privileged enough by my geographic vicinity and my status as an educated individual working in a generally open-minded industry (software development) to have had a relatively easy time thus far, but I am still fairly early in my transition and the new conservative government that was chosen by voters this past November is still in the process of ramping up to its full capacity of operation. Hence, there is plenty of time for bad things to happen and for my transgender journey to take a turn for the worse as a result of hateful acts of emboldened transphobic individuals and organizations. I obviously hope that such things won't come to pass, but I would be a fool not to prepare myself for such possibilities.

--lbds137