Meditations on transmisogyny – Week 179

As a trans woman, having my humanity denied, debated, or outright denigrated can be hard to tease apart from baseline cultural misogyny. It might even be a unique offshoot of it. Around the world women struggle to be heard, to be seen, to live.

We often to defer to men for safety, for advancement, for peace, even as we seethe inside. We see the ridiculousness of sometimes playing weak in order to be strong. We have to be hyper-competent to even be considered for promotion and are judged incompetent for slight mistakes. We walk away when we want to fight, choosing our battles in what seems like a hopeless war.

We are seen as sexual objects for men to use as they see fit and blend into the background when judged unattractive. We are viewed as safe receptacles for men to dump their feelings into like trash cans on the corner. We are the objects acted upon, not the verbing subjects.

But when we are strong, when we fight, when we disagree, when we exercise our own agency, we are treated as animals to be subjugated or put down. We are treated as children. We are told we can’t, we shouldn’t, that we ask for too much.

And trans women we are told we are less human than cis women, though we already struggle for our humanity on that front and trans women are women. We are treated as aberrations and more disposable than cis women because we are seen as failed men. And nothing draws the ire of men more than failed men because they fear them like they fear a contagion.

Failed men are fallen, defective humans in cultural milieus around the world. Women scorn them because they can no longer be their protectors from other men seeking to utilize them as objects. Other men use them as punching bags to bolster their masculinity. Sitting next to one, being seen with one, or sleeping with one bends back around to being seen as that singular inhuman object of ‘a pussy’.

Most trans women don’t even have that to fall back upon as one of the oldest appeasement methods of deflecting male aggression, which often further enrages them. Objects that don’t work as expected or sap cultural power are discarded, often violently.

So I re-affirm my humanity to myself over and over and over, just to live. It’s agitating for myself when being obviously ignored. It’s having to explain and justify myself over and over. It’s dealing with the emotions of exclusion, rejection, and loneliness. It’s struggling to value myself when so many others devalue me.

I do this by living my life when so many others want me dead at worst or invisible at best. I struggle with this and I know others do, too. When you’re bombarded by the world telling you that you don’t matter or that your relative uniqueness isn’t worth protecting, it can be hard to get motivated to get out of bed some days.

Pre-transition I read about trans women who rarely left the house. Most of these women were portrayed as vain beauties who had completed surgeries, including facial feminization, and felt they weren’t pretty enough to pass in public. It’s an easy narrative to believe because it fits nicely into the misogynistic trope of women being vain and the transmisogynistic trope of trans women putting passing above all else.

Now that I’m past the big hump of social transition, I wonder if the truth is closer to many (most?) of us simply feeling reluctant to leave the house out of an exhaustion of having to continually defend our humanity. I know I feel the seductive call of hiding away on many days and by dint of race and class, I have the privilege of doing so. Many others don’t.

It is much easier to be trans in public now than it was even ten years ago, but we still pay a psychic cost when visibly trans and experiencing subtle or overt discrimination or having things go sideways when we pass until we don’t.

There are no easy solutions here and many solutions are out of our hands. We can demand equality and respect, but until all women are equal and respected, we will be on the short end of the stick. We can tell the world what we need to feel valued, but until cis allies lobby and change the minds of other cis people, we will be denied our place with the rest of Homo sapiens sapiens.

©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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Week 178 – Another emergency room visit

In my continuing life saga of ‘What will the universe throw at me next?’, my eldest kid fell out of a tree at a friend’s house onto their back the day after school let out for summer. (Happy spoiler: they were not seriously hurt.) This necessitated a trip to urgent care and then an ambulance ride to a hospital emergency room (ER) for further evaluation.

Being trans and getting emergency or non-emergency medical care is fraught when you’re trans. From examples like Tyra Hunter’s unnecessary death in 1995 due to non-treatment by emergency personnel at the scene of the accident and in the ER to #TransHealthFail on Twitter, we know to be wary when engaging with medical practitioners. Even as the medical establishment inches towards an informed consent model for trans medical care, being along for the ride instead of being the patient still has its land mines.

This was my third trip to the ER just this year as a patient advocate and each has had its moment of uncomfortableness. The first was taking my youngest in after they were poked in the eye by a pipe and having to spend a few minutes untangling my dead name from my insurance record. The second was caring for my mom in her final days and being outed over and over at random by my family.

This most recent trip started with my youngest appearing breathlessly in the front yard after running from the neighbor’s house to tell me what had happened. My phone doesn’t always ring or get texts right away where I live, (I’m looking at you AT&T,) so the frantic texts and call from the friend’s parent came while I was scrambling to find my car keys and a femme sweatshirt to throw over the old, baggy, men’s tee-shirt I was wearing without a bra to mow the lawn. Because I was mowing the lawn, I was sweaty, smelled a bit ripe, hadn’t put on any makeup because I knew I’d take a shower after I was done mowing, and my unkempt hair was pulled back from my face in a pony tail.

For my cis readers who are wondering what’s notable about all that because it sounds like any mom mowing the lawn, in addition to the fear my kid had broken their back, this was an anxiety-provoking, almost-nightmare scenario for me.

I’ve been misgendered wearing a dress with a push-up bra and full makeup. To go somewhere without makeup, with a hairstyle of either ‘look at my big forehead’ or ‘hair metal band member after a bad night’, and wearing gender neutral to masculine clothing chosen for comfort instead of emphasizing curves and minimizing a bulge required a huge, deep breath on my part to not take five minutes to change clothes, slap on some mascara and lipstick, and brush my hair.

That my kid needed to go to urgent care and I had to consciously made a choice between rushing them to care right away and femme-ing up my appearance out of fear of my kid not getting timely or proper medical care because I might distract medical personel is supremely fucked up. Just about every trans person can tell a story of when medical care was derailed because some care provider was meeting a trans person for the first time and wanted to ask questions about being trans instead of about being injured or sick. That doesn’t even include fears and experiences of receiving sub-standard care due to hidden trans misogyny or bigotry.

The good news is me being trans didn’t seem to impact care for my kid. The not so good news is that there was still friction.

There was friction at check-in when the lady behind the counter seemed confused my kid had two moms and asked who I was twice, even after confirming I was the Heather on the insurance card. This could have been due to either less than stellar lesbian/gay family awareness or me not looking like a Heather, or both.

There was friction after we were told an ambulance ride to the hospital ER was necessary for a CT scan to check for a potential fractured vertebrae and our youngest couldn’t come along. I called their birth mom and she offered to come pick him up and follow us to the hospital. The ambulance arrived before she did and we asked again if the young one could ride along and the driver said that would be okay. I told them to hang on a minute while I called their other mom to inform her and got a funny look.

There was friction as I sat across from the ambulance medical technician for the 40 minute drive when he stared at me a few times across my kid strapped to a gurney before reaching some sort of internal, satisfactory conclusion about me and then talking much less.

There was friction in the ER, when the triage doctor looked at my ex and asked, ‘Are you the mom?’ and then looking surprised when my kids called me ‘mum’.

There was friction in the ER financial office after they pulled my ex in first and she told them I was responsible for the medical bills and I popped my head in the door to have the financial counselor hesitatingly ask me, ‘You’re Heather?’

In the grand scheme of things, these were trifles and everything worked out in the end. My kid only had some scrapes and the wind knocked out of them.

Yet these small events are illustrative of the additional emotional labor all trans people are required to process at some point. For some, this happens multiple times a day, every day in stores & schools and offices & out in public. During an emergency, the grain of sand of being accidentally misgendered can feel like a boulder dropped on your head and intentional hostility can trigger the fight or flight response, short-circuiting rational decision-making.

I still fear ending up in the ER unconscious and being unable to advocate for myself. I can only hope that as more and more people in the medical field meet trans people and become more familiar with our particular issues and needs in care settings, everyone will be able to focus fully on the medical issues at hand instead of being distracted because someone in the room is trans.

©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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Week 177 – ¡Viva la revolución! ✊🏼

I went to Seattle Trans Pride at Cal Anderson Park Friday, June 23, and I’m very glad I went. I met some great people from Twitter who I hadn’t met in person before, saw some friends, marched, got a mild sunburn, and then left early for some personal downtime due to crowd overload before meeting both a new and old friend at a pub for great conversation.

My first experience meeting other trans people was in a basement room about twenty years ago with a handful of other people. Seeing so many trans people and what looked like a thousand or more people marching on Friday was nothing short of amazing and inspiring.

As we marched, there were people on sidewalks clapping and cheering. There were clever signs and all genders and non-binaries were represented. In the clearest sign that being trans is now mainstreamed, there were corporate marketing booths sprinkled in amongst the activist and health-related booths. The booth area felt crowded and people were dressed from pride trans rainbow festive to fanciful to street clothes to formal clothes. There were roller skates and fairy wings and glitter and lace and leather. Trans men proudly walked with shirts off and scars visible. People came with acquaintances, friends, family, kids, and lovers.

It was Transapalooza, Transquatch, Transaroo, Burning Trans, Trans by Trans West, and Transella put in a blender with a political rally and a collective, defiant, ‘Some people are trans, get the fuck over it!’ shout to cis oppressors.

And those people were just the trans people who came. While more and more trans people are out than even before, how many didn’t come because they aren’t or can’t be out yet? How many trans kids hide in their own homes from disapproving adults?

I imagined all of us from the Seattle metro area being there and it made my brain melt trying to imagine 11,000 (at a 0.003% incidence rate) to 37,000 (a 0.01% incidence rate) trans people all gathered together to celebrate being alive. I’ve been to Seattle Mariners games with less attendance.

I used to visualize meeting new and running into/hanging out in public with other trans people I already knew as an almost cloak-and-dagger operation. Before I went to my first support meeting in a basement in the 90s I read books and communicated with trans people on the Internet. Everything pointed towards a world where trans people were generally not seen public, though we’ve been hiding in plain sight since forever. We were woodworked, deep stealth, secret trans agents operating under cover in hostile cis territory.

We often had no family because either our families had disowned us or we left it behind with our old names. We kept bags packed, ready to flee and disappear and start a new life again in another city at almost a moment’s notice if we were outed at the grocery store or work. We traveled great distances for surgery, if we could afford it, and encountered high complication rates. We met with other trans women in clubs, basements, private halls, hotel rooms, and tolerant restaurants after the family dinner rush.

And now, holy fuck, we fill two or more city blocks for a parade. We get congratulated at work for transitioning. Cis people know what cis means and call themselves cis. We’re on magazine covers and TV. We win awards. We write books and make movies and create music that hundreds of millions of people embrace. We had a Presidential Administration move forward some badly needed trans human rights protections and policy guidelines. We have more cis allies than ever before.

There is still much that needs to change. Murders of trans women of color and trans suicide rates are epidemic. Trans people of color too often have lower lifespans and incomes than white trans people. We are poorer and more underemployed that cis people. Homelessness, drugs, and alcohol can be hard to escape. Not enough have insurance. We have a crying need for more medical and mental health professionals. Some states are trying to legislate us out of public and whip up ignorance, intolerance, and hate. The current Presidential Administration is either rolling back or not defending trans-supportive public policy. And on and on and on.

But a whole bunch of trans people out in public having a parade in the middle of a Friday is nothing short of revolutionary compared to how it used to be.

We’re out, and we ain’t never going back in.

©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

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Week 174 – Mom’s diamond earrings

About a year before told my mom I was going to transition she took a trip with her boyfriend to Tahiti. She bought me a shell carved into a hook hung on a necklace as a gift. At about two inches tall, it was apparently what the men were wearing there because as she gave it to me she said she hoped I’d wear it because, ‘It would guy you up.’ I thanked her for it and wore it once when I went to visit her. Later I took it off the leather thong and put it in my jewelry box, which is where it resides today.

I’ve documented my mom’s journey from being angry at me about my transition to being more or less supportive, and wrote about how she gave me two pairs of earrings for my birthday in 2015. I treasure them, as they remain the only jewelry my mom gave me. I managed to lose one of the dangly silver and blue ones the first time I wore them, and I’m still upset about that.

When my brother I and took a quick spin through her stuff before he went back home, I didn’t take anything of hers other than a silver bracelet my brother had given her. I stopped in a few weeks back and while I was there I took her diamond studs. Her mom and dad gave them to her when she was a teenager in high school. I know this because I just happened to see the entry she wrote in her diary about them when I was flipping through a few weeks ago.

Post-transition I’ve mostly worn dangly earrings because I had my fill of studs pre-transition. But the diamonds are different. I’ve worn them often lately. They were my mom’s from my grandparents. I think of all of them when I put the glittery stones in my lobes. I like to think they’d be happy to know I have them and wear them.

Thanks, mom.

©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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Week 173 – Living life

Thursday was a busy day for me. The day started with a school meeting to review my eldest’s progress over the past year, (he’s doing great.) Then, since I grew up around my mom’s cigarette smoke, I went and had a CT scan as a diagnostic screen for lung cancer.

The guy running the machine was super-smiley and chatty so I was happy the scan was quick and didn’t have to linger. The clinic was near the hardware store so I popped in to get an electrical junction box for the shop light I was installing in the garage.

The weather was gorgeous so when I arrived home the last thing I wanted to do was be in the garage attic pulling wire so instead I spent some time listening to the birds while I planned my garden. There’s a large-ish lawn in front of my house and I hate mowing since I have grass allergies. When I moved in four years ago transition and divorce coupled with uncertainty if I could keep the house got in the way of any landscaping.

While I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to afford the house a few years out, sprucing up the curb appeal feels like a good investment. A bonus will be enjoying the yard without sneezing. After considering my desire to have a pond and the shape of the landscape, I’ve decided to install a Japanese Zen garden-inspired space loosely modeled after a garden of my grandfather’s.

He lived in South Seattle in a neighborhood called Rainer Valley and when he and my grandmother moved there in the 1950’s, it was an un-landscaped blue-collar urban tract home neighborhood made up of Boeing riveters and ditch-diggers like him. By the 1980’s the area was ravaged by drugs and next door was a crack house stripped down to studs since everything, including the plumbing, had been ripped out and sold for drug money.

One day he was walking back up the hill to his house after a visit to the local bar and the neighbor’s pit bull charged out of the yard and attacked him. While defending his throat the dog sank its teeth into his upper arm. The owner and neighbors couldn’t get it off of him and when the cops arrived they had to shoot it off his arm.

Visiting him was always a juxtaposition as once you entered his property thorough an arching hedge, you couldn’t see and hardly heard the urban blight surrounding him. There were irregular pathways of stones meandering through narrowed, living corridors of mature rhododendrons of every blooming color and multiple species of heather. A flagstone patio with overhead trellis entwined with flowering wisteria was the site of my father’s third wedding. The crowning jewel was a mountain of rock towering seven meters on a side towering five meters high.

He collected all the rocks himself from numerous hikes in the Cascades and brought back rocks from Nepal when he visited Katmandu. At customs the agent purportedly struggled to lift his suitcase and asked jokingly if there were rocks inside.

The only lawn he had was was hardly bigger than the footprint of a large bathtub and was fringed by heather. His garden philosophy was, ‘I don’t want to have to work on the garden when the weather is nice. It leaves more time for drinking. I just let it grow and do some trimming in the fall and raking in the winter.’

I am 100% behind this philosophy, even though I’m not as much of an alcoholic as he was.

To that end, I set the literal cornerstone for the garden by weeding out and trimming some heather and setting some granite behind it. My ex planted it in one of her rare gestures of support as a present not long after I told her my name.

Proving the estrogen has done its work, moving the rocks around was much more effort than I expected. The large, round rock in the background used to sit in the back yard and in the past I would have picked it up and carried it in one go. That was out of the question so I rolled/drug/pushed it into place with many breaks.

As a transition point between the human lines of the house and sidewalk, it will connect a planned pond and Zen granite gravel feature. Complementing it is moss with deer fern I sliced out from one of the most shady parts of the lawn. Misting heads tapped into the container irrigation line will provide the moisture and humidity the moss needs to thrive.

After spending some time considering if I should shift and curve the gravel driveway (yes) it was time to install that light. While I’ve made much progress on cleaning out the garage of clutter, there were some larger things that needed to go—an old chair I remember my mom buying from an unfinished furniture store when I was a kid, car booster seats, three outgrown kid bicycles, a tricycle, and other random kid stuff and toys.

All of it was underneath where I needed to put the ladder to cut a hole in the ceiling and that was all the impetus I needed to put it all out on the street for free.

I had a twinge putting the smallest bike with training wheels out since it was the first bike for both of my kids. A Hispanic gardener took it for his 1 year-old grandkid and he was so happy to get a free bike it made me cry since it was going to a good home.

The chair disappeared first, which surprised me. It was almost 50 years old, creaky, and the shape of it is ugly as sin. It was the last chair of the set I had, the rest being broken or similarly freezoned. I celebrated many birthdays in that chair while growing up. We only borrow things for a while and I like to think some other kid will sit in that chair for their birthdays.

Installing the light and switch went smoothly. I’ve pulled and terminated miles and miles of network cable in my life and electrical wire is just bigger with easier terminals to connect. The light is super-bright and perfect for illuminating the table saw at night.

Other than putting up insulation, drywall, and shelving, which can wait, the garage is now ready to take on just about any home project. I’m ready to keep busy with stacked up remodeling tasks on the days I don’t want to be in the garden.

The last task of the evening was to move the 55 gallon acrylic fish tank its iron stand to the porch by the front door. I’ve had the tank since 1987 when its glass predecessor popped a seam in the middle of the night and leaked saltwater, threatening the well-being of a pair of mated maroon clownfish, their very large anemone home, various corals, and my sanity.

I sold the whole rig, (converted to freshwater years before,) to a friend in 2002 when I was doing my best to avoid ending up homeless under crushing debt. He gave it back to me about five years later when he moved to Oregon. It was empty and dirty and it’s stayed that way since in storage lockers and garages.

Now it’s on my porch and it’ll hold the nine goldfish my eldest saved from being eaten by Yoshi the turtle. I knew they didn’t like the idea of feeding Yoshi live food but I took a chance earlier in the week when I was close to the pet store.

Long story short, there were tears, a mad scramble for a bucket and net, them spending an hour fishing then out, and repeated pleas to save them. So now I have a fish tank on my porch.

That was a very long ramble. The method to my madness is comparing it to my life of three years ago. My life is completely different now, in a much, much, _much_ better way.

I’m living my life instead of wishing for the one I want. If you’re living a life you don’t want, my heart goes out to you. Know that there is a life post-transition and while it may not end up being the life you dreamt of having, it is _your life_, not the one other people want you to live.

©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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Week 172 – What day is it?

I think I’m two weeks behind on posts. That’s my life right now.

The clock tells me the time and I think, ‘I have plenty of time to get to the next task.’

I finish what I’m doing and, ‘Poof!’ an extra hour or two has somehow disappeared.

‘Shit!’ I think, ‘I’ll have to crank on that task, because I have three others to do today!’

The task takes me much longer than it should. ‘Fuck!’ I say to myself, ‘Ran out of time for those other things I need to do. Guess I’ll do them tomorrow.’

Tomorrow comes and, ‘I should mow the lawn while the weather is nice,’ and three hours and six miles trudged later, I’m sweaty, gross, and tired.

‘I’ll pay the bills after I get out of the shower,’ I tell myself.

An hour later it’s, ‘Shit! Shit! Shit! I’m going to be late to pick up the kids from school!’

Then I rush to get them and when we get home I point them towards homework while I do the dishes I’ve been ignoring for a couple of days so I have space to cook dinner. My foot is splashed with water halfway through the scrubbing, and then I’m frantically pulling stuff out from under the sink to find the leak.

It was where the U-bend couples with the sink drain. It leaked and overflowed the small metal bowl I put below it when I replaced the sink a few months back because now and then it dripped.

With wet towels and the stuff that collects under kitchen sinks all over the floor and the dishes half-done, I’m deciding what my next step is when, ‘I’m really hungry,’ comes pitifully from the mouth of my babe.

Realizing the kid needs to eat, we pile into the car for the grocery store and then they decide once we get there they don’t want what we came to get and time is ticking by and my other kid’s ADHD medicine is wearing off and they’re starting to bounce around like a hummingbird on crack and I’m, ‘Fine. Get what you want. I have to get other groceries anyway. Come find me.’

They don’t have the wax paper bags I use to put my eldest’s half-sandwich in for lunch so I sigh and find the sour cream and the kids find me and pelt me with questions so fast I’m stunned like I’m at my own stoning after I’ve blasphemed. Herding my cats towards the checkout register, it’s like everyone in my town is here to buy groceries at the same so I steer them to a different set of registers and the lines are still long but I spy one that’s moving faster than the others and the hummingbird darts away to the food sample table at the back of the store.

I want to strangle them but I don’t want to lose my place in line so I wait, pay, and head to the car.

‘What about [sibling’s name]?’ My youngest asks.

‘They can walk home or meet us at the car.’

They come skipping out of the store as I unlock the car. We get home and I juggle silverware and plates for them and only then do I realize I didn’t get anything for myself in all the hubbub. At this point I’d settle for a liquid dinner but there’s no alcohol in the house.

I heat up some soup and let the kids watch TV while I eat. Then I fix the sink, accidentally splashing myself and the skirt I’m wearing. It’s a sports skirt, so I’m not freaked about it and then I remember riding my bike earlier while wearing it and realizing that was the first tim I’d ridden a bike while wearing a skirt and it makes me smile.

Turns out I had the compression fitting pointing the wrong direction. I’m happy I’ve fixed the sink, but then I have to get the fan out to dry under the sink and then it’s bedtime for the kids, and where did the day go?

©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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Week 171 – Beauty culture is a velociraptor

This past week I ventured out of the house sans makeup a few times to mixed results of how people reacted to me. At this point in my transition I’m very tired of people being weird around me when they come to the realization I’m trans. I know because I’ve also become bored of the whole thing via grinding repetition.

It’s the cheerful, friendly, ‘How are you today?’ at the checkstand that snaps to intently punching in a key-code and trying their best to ignore me and my attempts at small talk. By my observation, it happens due to random cosmic rays. Some sort of relativistic mass bounces off a neuronal spark in their head and I transform like magic from a random woman who appeared before their counter to tranny at register 3.

Or it could be my voice, my jaw line, my brow ridge, or any or all of the many other things about me someone else adds up to ‘trans.’ In any event, my experience on this front has been fucking strange and repetitious.

The early trans raptures of being triangulated by a fundamentalist Christian who clocks you as a reincarnated walking pillar of salt, some dude who’s trying to pick you up, and any person or people who is/are completely ignoring you or treating you like they would any other person because you’re just any other person were…dislocating. I felt like a pinball bouncing off of rubbers, kickers, and bumpers in rapid, random succession. Some days I was concussed, unable to wrap my head around how differently people treated me now compared to before.

But I am unequivocally a happier person since I stopped fighting myself to become myself. The massive reduction in gender dysphoria is nothing short of astonishing. The massive increase in the daily friction of my life when interacting with people was a reasonable trade-off now that I have some mental scar tissue where I had none before.

It’s the little decisions and experiences that add up over time. It’s learning to seek help in a store from a woman before a man and if you have to go to a man, find a nice or dumb one, and figuring out how to help yourself if neither are available. It’s the smile needed at that moment for the bath-, dining-, and showrooms I will pass through as a normal course of the traipse of my life. It’s deciding when to play dumb or smart, or instead, whatever it is I’m really wanting to feel like at that moment.

Again three poles to mark the triangle. Everywhere you go, it’s the fucking triangle along for the ride, too. How it devils! At first it pricked me with its pointed tips, causing me to jump in nervous agitation. Then it cut me with the young flaked blades. And it cut me and it cut me and it cut me, each and every time until the wounds healed to scales of dragon-hide.

And over time, those stones of blood and tears hurled at me wore to smooth and I am instead now bruised, not cut, by those stones. Other blows I didn’t dodge wrote in pain my plan to become stronger, muscle by muscle.

Beauty culture is a velociraptor with a hair-trigger reflex reaction for prey detection and will cut you as soon as look at you. The wrong jacket slice. The shitty makeup application stab. The frizzy hair chop. The outfit dissected.

This too was…dislocating.

A scaly hide covers most of my body now and the muscles beneath ripple in claw-clenching anticipation of devouring any fellow traveller who’s not with my program. To discover there are two species of velociraptor and I’m one of them?! No one fucking mentioned that.

And here I am, a terrible lizard, without makeup. Hear me roar.

©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by buying one of my poetry collections. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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