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This Is What Makes Us Girls

(with apologies to Lana Del Rey.  Trigger warning for misogynistic, transphobic violence)

when men open doors for me
yearning for my smile

and my lover cups my hips, pulling me to her
whispering “mine”


when my mother looked at my skirt and said “you’re not going out in that”
and my father said I was dead to him,
an embarrassment to the family

and  they gave him a job instead of me,
and again, and again,

and when they spoke over me, boys and beards alike,
wrote their words and theories on my skin
called me hysterical, unreliable, psychotic,


the psychologist asked me what underwear I was wearing,
and the doctor told me to get undressed
while another refused to treat my impure body at all

and strange men pulled at my crotch and my breasts, groping, reaching, tearing,
or the taxi driver said I could pay with sex
and I ran like hell
stumbling in the darkness
wishing I’d worn flats

and their fists hit my chest, and my body crumpled
they call me slut, whore, cunt
and everyone blamed me, anyway.

And you, my sisters, you closed the doors to shelters
and my bruises healed alone

organised conferences and
wrote books
while my words went unheard

and you told me die tranny bitch
called yourself radical

and never once realised how much

you are like the men

you hate.

One Comment

  1. ellysabeth wrote:


    So much resonance, here, experiences similar enough that reading brought back some of the old sting.

    Like the haters, I want to disbelieve. I want to believe in a world where these sorts of things never happened – to you or to me.

    But if these sorts of things must happen, if trans people must suffer, it’s sort of nice at least that people are willing to provide object lessons right there in the comment thread following your poetic recollection of painful experiences past, so that none need leave wondering what trans experience of misogyny look like – here we have a helpful group of people all prepared to illustrate!

    Love and well-wishes.

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink