I have this necklace, or maybe I’d call it a bowtie.
Either way, it seems to fit quite nice.
Because when I put it on, I’m transformed.
I’m no longer a woman,
with breasts, and beautiful eyes.
Except I don’t become a man either,
with big muscles, and handsome features.
The necklace begins with a clasp,
as do they all,
and golden pearls continue all the way down
until you hit
a golden bowtie.
The pearls scream fem,
but the bowtie screams mas,
and all together,
it screams different.
When people look at me,
they try to see the binary,
they try to see what will make them comfortable,
they try to see a woman who’s in the kitchen,
or a man who’s on the field.
When I look at myself,
I need a magnifying glass just to understand
the curves and angles of my face,
and my mind.
I don’t mind the dresses,
and I actually really enjoy the suits.
And what I really like to do is throw on a blazer,
with gold-lined high heels underneath.
Most of the textbooks say I’m a woman,
because of my body.
And the other textbooks say I should feel like a man,
because I don’t feel right in my body.
Where are the textbooks that say I can be a little of both,
or neither at all?
Where are the textbooks that teach me this part of myself?
After all, they’re supposed to exist to help us learn.
Unless the bathroom you want to enter isn’t the one with your stick figure on it.
And unless your driver’s license has the right letter under “gender”.
Unless you do what they all say,
and be the gender you were born into,
you’ll never be normal.
Except some of them say that you
don’t need to be what you were born,
but that you just need to pick one.
And then you’ll be normal, and only a little different.
Where are they who say that I can be both?
Are those people only fantasies in my head?
I like to think these people are in my bowtie necklace,
helping me learn me,
helping me learn my mind,
helping me learn my heart.
Because when I put it on, I become somebody else.
I become me.
A third-gender, or sometimes,
it feels like a fourth.
You’re silly. This wasn’t horrible at all. I loved it, truly <3
Have you ever held hands with a woman?
Yes, many times—women about to deliver, women about to have
breasts removed, wombs removed, miscarriages, women having
epileptic fits, having asthma, cancer, women having breast
bone marrow sucked out of them by nervous or indifferent
interns, women with heart condition, who were vomiting, over-
dosed, depressed, drunk, lonely to the point of extinction:
women who have been run over, beaten up. deserted. starved.
women who had been bitten by rats; and women who were
happy, who were celebrating, who were dancing with me in
large circles or alone, women who were climbing mountains
or up and down walls, or trucks or roofs and needed a boost
up, or I did; women who simply wanted to hold my hand because
they liked me, some women wanted to hold my hand because
they liked me better than anyone….
You have kissed other women?
Yes, many, some of the finest women I know, I have kissed.
women who were lonely, women I didn’t know and didn’t want
to, but kissed because that was a way to say yes we are
still alive and loveable, though separate, women who recog-
nized a loneliness in me, women who were hurt, I confess
to kissing the top of a 55 year old woman’s head in the snow
in boston, who was hurt more deeply than I have ever been
hurt, and I wanted her as a very few people have wanted me—
I wanted her and me to own and control and run the city we
lived in, to staff the hospital I knew would mistreat her,
to drive the transportation system that had betrayed her, to
patrol the streets controlling the men who would murder or
disfigure or disrupt us, not accidentally with machines, but
on purpose, because we are not allowed out on the street
Have you ever committed any indecent acts with women?
Yes, many. I am guilty of allowing suicidal women to die
before my eyes or in my ears or under my hands because I
thought I could do nothing, I am guilty of leaving a pros-
titute who held a knife to my friend’s throat to keep us from
leaving, because we would not sleep with her, we thought
she was old and fat and ugly; I am guilty of not loving
her who needed me; I regret all the women I have not slept
with or comforted, who pulled themselves away from me for
lack of something I had not the courage to fight for, for us,
our life, our planet, our city, our meat and potatoes, our
love. These are indecent acts, lacking courage, lacking
a certain fire behind the eyes, which is the symbol, the
raised fist, the sharing of resources, the resistance that
tells death he will starve for lack of the fat of us, our
extra. Yes I have committed acts of indecency with women
and most of them were acts of omission. I regret them
—- a few excerpts from ‘a woman is talking to death’ by judy grahn. this poem is amazing.