navigating the world as a gender non-conforming transfeminine person of color teaches you that this world has been primed to hate you, be disgusted by you, & reject you. it is to experience the antithesis of desire. we have to carry the shame of our racial communities, the shame of cisgender gays, lesbians, & bisexuals, & the shame of binary trans people -- we become emblematic of both their failure & our own. hatred & distrust of us is a sacrosanct tradition: one enshrined & fortified at all levels. there are no safe spaces when we are harassed every day wherever we go. there are no safe spaces when we are not believed for the violence we experience &, indeed, are most often blamed for it. we are persecuted not only by cishet men, but also by cis queer people and cis women who are constantly scrutinizing us to confirm the preconceived colonial stereotypes they have about us (imposters, villains, parodies, freaks). in the very places we are told we can find refuge, we are misgendered, dismissed. when we speak about our pain and the violence that engenders it, we are told to "think positively" (not "i will fight for you") as if we can somehow self-love ourselves out of structural racism & transmisogyny alone. often the only way to keep going is to numb oneself, is to keep quiet, is to internalize. but when i sit down to write my poetry all of the wounds throb. i remember all of the places i have been groped. i remember all of the times i have feared for my life. i remember every time i have been most afraid of the people who are supposed to protect me. when trans people voice our concerns about being lumped into "LGBT," it is because we have been harassed by cisgender people, regardless of their sexual orientation. is because we know what we experience is unique & deserves its own language & attention. to exist in this body and in this world is to know a type of loneliness that comes from everyone staring at you, but never seeing you. people clapping for you, but never caring for you. is knowing that all of the worlds you create for yourself crumble when you walk outside or go online & are told to die. i write to remember why i chose to live. choose to live. 💔

support the author