I Am Transgender

from by Andrea Lee



I am transgender, and when I first read this poem,
I had never spoken those words out loud before in my life
Even now, after multiple coming out talks
With people that I know will support me
I lack the conviction in my identity
That I wish I had
I’ve discussed the topic often,
But I always try to cushion the idea,
explaining to my mom that I am discussing in therapy
The slight possibility that I might be trans.
Language chosen carefully to hide the fact
That this is not possibility, but reality
I am trans. And I am fucking terrified
I can count on one hand the number of times
I have dressed in public in a way that would suggest
that I am anything other than a cisgender male.
Yet when I am asked the question “where do you see yourself in 5 years”
I can’t picture a future in which I can keep up this facade
not upset by the cliche of my body,
But by the gender role into which I am so easily sorted
Never questioning what was between my legs
But instead wondering why I identified so strongly
With a gender that I still do not feel like I have the right to claim as my own
Knowing as I tell him, though he’ll never admit it
That I have just broken my father’s heart
Not because he doesn’t know what this means
But precisely because he understands
That in this society, I have just exposed myself to hate
And every father just wants to protect his child
Yet at the same time, I recognize the incredible privilege I have
That I worried about whether my parents would respect my pronouns
Rather than whether or not they would continue to shelter me
And that might seem like hyperbole
But speaks of a very real trans reality
In which peace, not violence, is out of the ordinary
I know in my heart that I want to transition.
But due to my indecision I don't know if I ever will.
After all it took me 5 years just to pierce my ears
Afraid of giving away that I do not conform to the notions of masculinity that have long been imposed on me
But gender is not, and should never be
Defined by one’s body
And transition is not a destination
But a lifelong journey that is still full of danger at every turn
My gender is not the one that I was assigned at birth
And that means
I am transgender


from Introducing Andrea Lee, released March 1, 2016



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Andrea Lee Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Andrea Lee Plank is a spoken word poet / computer geek living in Bethlehem, PA. Andrea identifies as a nonbinary transgirl and uses they / them pronouns. They are attending Northampton Community College.

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