It’s Not “About the Children”

One claim I see often from the anti-trans bigot crowd (ABCs) is that they don’t like being forced to accept beliefs they don’t agree with. They claim to believe that you can’t “change your gender”, i.e., that you can’t be anything other than what the hospital decided by looking at your genitals. They claim to believe that trans people are holding delusional beliefs, and that the ABCs are helping us by forcing us to accept reality.

How the ABCs treat me shows that the foundational claim here is false.

At birth, I was assigned male based on my genitals. I am nonbinary. I have not undergone any medical procedures, have never taken any hormones, to modify my body. I have done zero medical transitioning.

Here is what I expect all people to accept: I do not like being referred to with masculine language. Use gender-neutral language with me. That’s it.

I do not deny my body, but I do not like to be reminded about it. The only objective way in which my beliefs about myself and ABC beliefs about me differ is in my belief that I am not a “man” in the socially constructed context of that, and in their alleged belief that “man” is a physical reality and not a social construct. That has absolutely nothing to do with respecting my request to use linguistically accurate language about me: Gender-neutral language is not false, it can used about everyone. It is widely used when we don’t know someone’s gender, and in my case, there is disagreement about my gender, and so it’s appropriate to use it.

And yet… they won’t use it. I’ve been called every insult they use for trans people. I’m not telling anyone to use “she” (which is another, longer, much more vulnerable post), and I’m not doing anything remotely permanent to my body. I wear jewelry and nail polish and sometimes feminine clothing, but that’s it…. And yet, my telling people NOT to use masculine language is enough to get the ABCs upset.

So, as it’s said a thousand times, here it is again: It’s not about “You’re forcing us to accept your reality” anymore than it’s about “What about the children?” It’s 100% about “trans people are icky” and about reinforcing toxic social expectations.

enough about me

but enough about me
let’s talk about you
let’s talk about how you’ve shaped an image of me out of clay and mud and the pieces of last night’s dinner and a memory you had a long time ago about a person i’ve never even met
let’s talk about how once upon a time you were hurt by someone and you internalized that hurt
you forgot the details
you just remembered the pain
let’s talk about how everyone you meet is painted onto a canvas still wet from everyone else you’ve ever met
until people are just mixed up into a dull gray
or streaks of orange that were never there in the first place
and you want to be able to pick people apart
you want to be able to stop forcing everyone new into the buckets and the molds and the masks of all those yesteryears
all those yesterpeople
but we are all an aggregation of our memories
and we vomit those memories up with every person we meet
so let’s talk about that
let’s talk about how i don’t even know who you are either
how the you that i think you are is just an amalgam of everyone i’ve ever known
who shares your name
your skin color
your gender
your height and weight and language and faith and all the little bits that make each one of us us
we are unique but we are amalgams
let’s talk about how i’ve shaped an image of you out of play-doh and rocks i found on yesterday’s walk in the forest and the pieces of a movie i thought i’d never see again
and a memory i just had about a person you knew but you didn’t know you knew
and i’m too nervous about what you’d say if you knew that we had some past person in common
especially this person of all people
so let’s not talk about that
let’s just forget i even brought that up
i’m sorry
i’m sorry that i’ve mapped all these experiences
all these remembrances
all these traumas and yes
all these celebrations
onto you
it doesn’t have to be all darkness
the important part is that i’ve painted a you out of the totality of my experiences
and it has created an unfair depiction of you
a picasso portrait
and if i set you next to the portrait and said
this is you
this is how i see you
this is what i think of when i see you
what would you say
let’s talk about that
i said that this was enough about me
but i’m not sure i’ve even started talking about me yet
i’m not sure if you’re capable of truly processing who i am
we are all trapped in our own prison cells
cells of flesh and bone and blood
our brains are expansive
our souls stretch out
each one unique
but each one modeled on
i don’t even know
the beginning of who i am started long before i was born
it traces back before when my forebears thought they could own other people
and put them to work in the fields
whipping the ones who refused
my forebears decided that the africans loved to work
convinced themselves that the one who said they didn’t were mentally ill
did you know that about me
because it’s in my blood
the beginning of who i am traces back through europeans finding complex societies on this land
and killing them off
and telling the historians it was no big deal
the beginning of who i am traces back through holy wars and imperialism and poverty and wealth and crucifixion
or is it truly crucifiction
i am a spool of realities wrapped around a core
but what is the core
is it just more spooling
but i am here now
i am not just an accumulation of these facts
they course through my blood
just as your own facts course through yours
but they are no more me
than they are the version of me that you carry around
the version of me that you’ve painted onto the canvas that is my flesh
but enough about me
let’s talk about this portrait i painted of you
and how this is who i see when i see you
and how when you see this portrait you don’t even see what i painted
these misunderstandings and misrepresentations and caricatures bounce back and forth
you do not see the objective reality of what i painted
when i painted your portrait
you see it through the shattered kaleidoscope of what you think i should think about you
of what you think about yourself
and what you think other people see when they see you
the turtles are stacked
and it makes me want to scream
because i want so badly to just touch another human being
truly and completely
without the bubbles of fabricated reality that we all live within
i want to lie naked with you
not for sex
not in a sexual way
but truly naked
stripped down beyond flesh beyond blood beyond bone
down to whatever it is we are when we’re none of those things
down to that tiny little soul that lives fills the expanse of the universe
i want this but i know it will never happen
i want you to know exactly who i am
i want you to know exactly who i think you are
so you can correct me
so you can point out where i’ve muddied things up
where i added too much ocher and not enough violet
but then i realize
i can barely contain my own essence within this sack of meat that carries me around
how could i truly and honestly contain yours too



(I wrote this on my phone on 4/21, and transcribed it here on 4/29.)

I can feel the friction when I write between the need for organization and the desire to scream whisper shout whimper stretch out big squeeze down small. Between the need for order and the demand for chaos and I don’t know how to get it to fit all on the same page anymore than it will fit in the same breath. One of these is the voice telling me to fit myself between the barricades of the page, within the constraints of the rules and the grammar and all these delineations that are required to be “understood” and one of these is my true self fighting to be heard to be here to be seen to be hello I have never truly been allowed to speak because I don’t even know the language that I would speak in. This one is so restrictive, a suit of clothing that was tailored for another mind. It will have to do but know this: I would speak another tongue if I knew how to make my mouth, my fingers create it, and if I thought you would understand. My soul is the TARDIS: So much bigger on the inside than I could ever show.

hyperfixated infodump

the basic shape of the capital latin letter a has remained fairly unchanged since phoenician
first developed over three millennia ago
the major change is that it was tipped over
it is believed to have originally represented a ox’s head
apparently greek scholars busied themselves with tipping over cows
in the fields

the basic shape of the lower case latin letter b is a half-rotation away from the phoenician character
the greeks gave the letter curves where the phoenicians gave it angles
the greeks kept the angles of G and D
it was the romans that curved those up

in g-that-is-c and in the shape of e
we see the effect of greek changing the direction of the river
epsilon is he in the mirror
at first people wrote their letters right to left
but then the greek decided to write back and forth
like the ox turning in the fields

the greeks tipped the ox head and flipped the writing over too
and though phonics and phoenician are unrelated words
it was the latter that gave us the former

the phoenicians did not write their vowels
and yet all of our vowels came from phoenician letters
a from alpha from ‘alep
e from epsilon from he
i from iota from yod
o from omicron and omega from ‘ayin
u from upsilon from waw

even our consonants j v and w came from greek vowels which came from phoenician consonants
yod waw waw respectively
the romans couldn’t decide what to do with waw
it became the five letters f u v w y
a fifth of our alphabet comes from waw

for five letters ‘alep bet giml dalet he
the romans diligently copied the greeks who had diligently copied the phoenicians
and then they got to waw and it all fell off the rails

did the greeks really invent the vowels deliberately
or did they just not understand glottal stops
in the same way that we don’t understand that pi and phi rhyme and sound the same to english ears

and let us take a moment to mourn for samek
kap lamed mem nun ‘ayin were kept intact
but the romans jettisoned samek-that-is-xi in favor of chi
which has no phoenician equivalent

the canonical mathematical symbol for the unknown
is the only english letter that is not traced back to phoenician
even though the phoenician had a symbol that looked like x
and even meant mark
that symbol became the latin t
which is the symbol for the unknown specific to calculus

these are accidents that don’t feel like accidents
these are accidents that someone else would attribute to the hand of god
these are accidents

but they are glorious accidents


at the end

at the end of the path,
at the end of the road,
i am not autistic,
i am not transgender,
i am not disabled,
i am just me,
the me i have always been,
hidden deep within the cocoon of me


yeah, eff that noise

i’ve come to a conclusion about my mental health
but i’ll get back to that

when i was young
i remember people talking about autism
as if it were pitiable, contagious, debilitating

spoken of in hushed tones
did you hear about margaret?
her son is…
the word is barely audible

by the time i saw rain man
the concept had become cemented in my head
autists were robots with human flesh
unfeeling robots
so sad

phase 1:
aba stands for anything but autism
that’s how society acts

some parents would rather risk their child get
measles, mumps, rubella, even polio
than risk them being autistic

autism doesn’t come from the tip of a needle
but just in case
just on the off chance
just to be safe

phase 2:
my brother tells me i’m autistic
i absorb it like an insult
i reel
i react in anger

i know what it means to be autistic
out of control
unable to navigate life
incapable of rising above the struggles


that is what it means to be autistic

yes, i have problems
a raw and vehement temper
social awkwardness
trouble understanding my peers
difficulty staying on a task
why can’t people understand me anyway?

but i am not incapable
i am not disabled

phase 3:
i have earned the word disabled
well-meaning people have tried to take it from me
tried to convince me i am
differently abled

i am not differently abled
i am not handicapable

i am as i am
i can fill my cracks with streaks of gold
but kintsugi will not change my nature

accommodations are excuses
but excuses are rewards
i cannot do it
i am incapable
i am a victim of my brain
i am a victim of my upbringing

i do not need physical crutches
my disability is my crutch

phase 4:
we are not defined by our circumstances
we are defined by how we respond to them

if we know our limitations
we can work within them and
in so doing
overcome them

i am disabled but i am not incapable
i am disabled but i am not incapable
i am disabled
i am not incapable

phase 5:
i have come to a conclusion about my mental health
looking back, the shattered moments that i attributed to mental illness
were masks
it was better to be psychotic than autistic
it was better to be depressive than autistic
it was better to be anything but autistic

but retconning over the canvas of my life
it’s okay to be autistic
and it should have always been


ophelia sleeps

my skull is hollow
as if i could crawl inside of it
fold my whole body into itself

i’m looking around
for a hint of emotions
of color
of love or rage
of red or green or yellow
but there is nothing

just an expansive void
sand on the oceanside
eroding away under
the wave’s caress

i want to be present
here in the now
but there is no here
there is no now

there is nothing to grasp
to keep me from slipping

into the null

let my body rest
let it float
in the silent tide

mallais’s ophelia
gliding with the undertow
it is not possible to die
if you have never



I’m feeling stagnant. The daily poems (word salads) have become mechanical, and I’m not sure how I’m feeling about them now. I’m in that mode of “only x to go” (which is now down to “only five to go”), so they’re feeling like a chore. I have books I want to read, but I keep finding myself on social media. Damn dopamine! I have a bunch of yarn and an arsenal of crochet hooks, but I struggle with the confidence to do something with it, so much so that’s I’ve started and then pulled apart my purple yarn four times now. I feel like Penelope, working on the shroud by day and pulling it apart at night.

some days

some days
words flow from my fingertips
like a mighty river
slide from my lips
in a deafening torrent
of insight
a logorrheic overflow
spread out on the page
in the air
a feast for the ear and the eye

other days…
not so much


interlude 2

i had finally found my way
to the center of the labyrinth

there was no minotaur here
no pile of bones
no evidence of the violence
that fill the ancient tales

the only sound was quiet
the steady rhythm of my own breathing

it was a circular room
with one entrance
so with one exit

nondescript white walls
plain and unassuming

in the middle a chair
not a throne
a simple chair

meant for simply sitting
and thinking
and pausing for a while

so i sat in it
and it invited me in

i sat awhile
back to the entrance
back to the exit
staring at the nondescript white wall

listening to the steady rhythm
of my own breathing

this was all there ever was
this was all there ever needed to be
this was enough
i was enough

i will always be enough