the other day on a packed subway train this stranger came up to me & yelled “ARE YOU A CROSS DRESSER?” i smiled & nodded no. i didn’t want to go into it with them — i have learned the hard way that when i advocate for myself in public the harassment gets worse. so then this person started to talk to my friend next to me: “is he a cross dresser?” my sweet friend said “no she is a she” (i use “they” but in the moment this was the intervention to be made). then this person started to interrogate my friend about me: have i always known, that she knows a transgender, how she likes NYC because she gets to see different people like me. all the while she was yelling & the entire train was staring at me. i got so flushed and embarrassed i’m sure my face was as red as my dress. being made into a spectacle means that i am simultaneously made hyper visible while also being erased. i became an object — dehumanized — a subject of conversation, but not of personhood. to have someone talk about you like that — as if you’re not there... there is so much i want to say in the moment but i can’t because of the reality of violence. it makes me feel so degraded and powerless, totally ruins my day. my writing — specifically my poetry — feels like the only place i can be myself anymore. it’s where i can say “that hurt. i am alive. it matters.” it’s where i can scream, cry, demand my personhood — remind myself i am real. so i am just writing this here to say this happened; it hurt; and i am trying. trying to generate the confidence to keep going even though i am exhausted & scared.