The Binary

from by Andrea Lee



Being trans is celebrated in a person
As a series of before and after pictures
Showing a progression from what they were
To what they are becoming
Ignoring the fact that to them
That’s what they’ve always been.
My gender is preceded by the word identity
As I explain to people.
That I feel like a both girl and a guy, yet neither .
I identify. I feel. Never “I am”
These carefully chosen words I use
To justify my existence not just to cis people
but to members of our own community
that claim I am not trans enough
because I don’t hate having a penis.
I do not identify with a gender
I am my gender
My pronouns, are not a preference
And my name.
I give you the privilege to speak it
And if my gender doesn’t make sense to you,
then get in line, because I puzzled over it first
Every day is an exploration
Of who I am and what I want to be
It’s ironic that as someone non binary
I spend so much of my life coding
I suppose it’s a type of therapy
Computers depend on logical thinking
There is no room for these feelings.
Because as much as I know that I’m queer
I know that it would be easier
Were there no doubt about who I am
Were the world as simple
And as black and white
As the 0s and 1s which
Comprise the code that I write
Their very shape representative
Of the biological boxes we try to escape
Arbitrary separators that ignore the fact
That there are a million numbers between 0 and 1
And 7 billion genders between male and female
I see gender more like a favorite color
You cannot explain color except in terms of other colors
And this world is still insisting that everything is pink and blue
And I am not saying just that my favorite color is purple
But that color is an indistinguishable spectrum
And maybe my concept of orange is your blood red
So why do we keep trying to sort people into these boxes?
Even through metaphor, we see pink as a gay color
Why are we so obsessed with making everyone
Not just pick between two options
But pick the right one based on what
the general area of your pelvis looks like
I get it society, the bits down there are fun to play with
But if you still can’t understand
that this cisgender system is harming my sisters and brothers
Then maybe you need to stop and think
If the ability to know someone’s genitals by looking at them
Is really more important than the lives being lost
Because if you still don’t see why this matters
Then I want you to own up to your opinions
Look me in the eye and tell me
That you don’t see me as a person
That your discomfort is worth more than my life
Even knowing that there is a 41% chance
That I will die by my own hand
Leelah’s name is not written on her tombstone
And if I died today I wonder what would be on mine


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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