“What are you?”
I look at my naked body in the mirror
and the answer is wrong.
I try not to think about it,
cover my body with layers of clothes
to hide everything
but my soft face,
high-pitched voice,
short stature
keeps everyone else’s questions at bay.


I am not a girl.
I don’t want you to see me
and think
“girl” because that’s how you think I look.
So I flatten my chest
and watch people do double takes
when they notice something is missing.

I am not a boy either, so
I hide my boxers, stuff them as far as they’ll go
into my jeans and hope they don’t show.
I have stripped myself of pronouns
because the ones people automatically
assign to me don’t fit.


I don’t fit inside a checkmark box.
“Are you male or female?”
The world doesn’t fit as neatly

into this binary one we’ve created.
We’re forced to conform,
flowing to fit a mold,
stretch it to “I’m somewhere between boy and girl”
to “I’m no where near there,”

afraid that whomever we tell

won’t listen.


So we tell no one,
believe that we are somewhere between
butch lesbian but not really interested in girls
and confused
because who else is like this?

I am not alone.
I am not the only one caught in this gap,
caught in an ocean of swim or sink
searching for new words to describe ourselves.
We are quiet,
trying not to drown
in other’s confusion and “he/she/it,”
more likely to be murdered for not presenting as
the gender I was assigned
than I am for holding the hand of the girl I love.

My happiness comes with this risk,
and I am ready to give it all

just so I can finally feel





I wrote this for an "I Bring Voice" event held at my school.

I wrote it for myself, trying to explain my issues with my gender presentation and identity.

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