Gender: As defined by Jaden

This post is for my friend, Jaden. His story is not unlike so many others, though his journey is unique. I loved his words and wanted others to be touched by the beauty of his intentions. Thank you, Jaden, for allowing me to share your poem, your words, that are so meaningful to you. I wish you a lifetime of friendship, courage and positivity. xo
jaden p

Gender

Often times I’m disregarded as a person,

or a human altogether.

Often times I’m called “it” when I clearly asked you to call me “he”

and Jaden, not Jillian.

 

But moving on from that,

what the hell does my gender have to affect you in any way

whatsoever.

You act like the fact that I have breasts on my chest,

or my voice not being as low as the other guys,

or maybe I’m only 5’1”,

or your religion may not follow it?

 

How does that make me any less of a human being?

My gender may not reflect my given sex,

my name,

or my body.

 

You see me every day on the street.

You greet me when I walk in your store,

the classroom.

You give me my transit ticket to get on the other bus.

You gender me correctly.

 

But once you find out I’m transgender,

everything changes.

It’s almost like walking in the other direction.

Soon enough your pronouns become she again.

You use my birth name,

when I clearly ask you it makes me feel

uneasy,

uncomfortable,

un-valued,

unheard of.

 

But really, there are thousands,

probably millions of me out there.

Born in the wrong body,

Fuck no,

I wasn’t born in the wrong body.

Like Miles said,

I was born into a world where the perception of my body is wrong.

 

My birth certificate is wrong.

All the legal records stating I am female is simply

referring to the sex I was assigned at birth.

My birth name,

burning on the papers of every legal document

I’ve signed in my life.

Every time you miss gender me

I die each and every time.

 

So listen up,

I’ve had enough!

My name is not what it says on paper

but is what I tell you it is.

 

I am not “lying” about my gender,

my whole body was a lie

before coming out and

starting this whole lifeline process called “transition”.

 

So go ahead and call me weird.

Call me any derogatory word you can think of.

I’ve been though worse.

Hiding for the first 15 years in this body

that isn’t me.

 

So go ahead and beat me down.

I will get up and prove to you

I am “man enough” to live in this world

where a transgender person

is just a nothing.

 

I am a something.

God damn-it, I am me.

I am more than me.

I have been me and now me is shining

that I wish I did when I realized when I wasn’t her.

But I am him,

and I love him so much.

 

My chosen name is Jaden.

I chose that name because

it reflects me as a person

and who I chose to be.

 

So no more hiding in this dark closet.

Closets are for clothes.

Not for people with values, or thoughts.

Those need to shine like a rainbow.

 

I am shining, and I will continue to shine.

Your words will not affect me anymore.

They brought me down enough when i was younger,

and didn’t understand.

 

But for now, I am just trying to live my life.

As me. 

 __________________________________________________________________
If you would like to hear Jaden recite his poem on YouTube, just click here.

Gender – Jaden Prendergast
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Living Your Gender

I remember a day, many, many years ago, when I went with my grandpa to do some errands. I was about ten years old. The day had so much promise. I loved my grandparents more than anything and any opportunity to see them, together or individually, was met with joyous anticipation. Unfortunately, my memory is not all that great and I honestly can’t remember most of what we did that day, more than forty years ago. However, there is one specific moment of that day that stands out so vividly; I can recount what I was wearing, what was said and how that moment made me feel.

Among our stops that day was the barber shop. My grandpa needed a haircut and couldn’t wait to show off his granddaughter to the barber. We walk in (I am on top of the world) and before my grandpa could even introduce me, the barber says, “Ira, I see your brought your grandson with you today.”

Grandson?! Was he talking to us? I was MORTIFIED. I was definitely NOT a boy. I was very much a girl. That was a certainty.

In all fairness to the kindly, old barber, I was wearing levi’s (girls back then didn’t often wear jean-style pants) and had recently gotten a very short “pixie” haircut. At ten, girls and boys don’t look much different – it’s the clothes and hair that creates the perception of gender.

By the way, the barber felt terrible that he had mistaken me for a boy but I have never forgotten how I felt being identified as the wrong gender.

My son is transgender. He has known for quite a while that he is a boy. Of that he is as certain as I was at ten, out with my grandpa, knowing that I was a girl. When he goes out there is a certain amount of anxiety as to whether he will “pass.” Though his confidence builds with each passing day, I am guessing that there will always be a little voice in the back of his head questioning and wondering if people will see him the way he wants to be seen.

Try to imagine how you would feel if every time you went out, people thought you were someone other than who you knew you were. You might need to read that sentence a couple of times before it makes sense.

roz hunter trans sonIt takes an incredible amount of courage for a trans individual (whether MTF or FTM) to live as the gender they affirm. For Hunter, the past year has been an evolutionary process. He slowly changed his manner of dress, his hair, his visual identity.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the adults who grew up in a time when they couldn’t be anyone other than their assigned gender. Now, as adults, they are finding the courage to live differently. It is a BIG deal for a forty year old who has been living life as a man to make the hard, brave decision to go out for the evening dressed as a woman. Think about that. The next time you are out and find yourself staring a little too long wondering if the person seated across the restaurant from you is a man or a woman, remember that he or she is a human being first. The road they’ve travelled has likely been difficult and fraught with rejection, uncertainty and insecurity.

The next time you are wondering about someone else’s gender or choices, remember how certain you are of your own.