It has been a wellness practice and a therapeutic outlet for me to write against the grain of society’s perceptions of masculinity, femininity, male, female, woman, man and the norms, expectations and standards of these identities. As someone who has evolved in identity over the last 12 years as a stud/butch, a two-spirit, and now a shapeshifter, I understand and live the fact that everything is not what it seems or what the world says it is supposed to be. Life is a continuous cycle of evolution and change. I have experienced judgement, criticism and pain around these identities, even from those close to me and women who have claimed to love me. This series of poems expresses my need to further love and validate myself. Most importantly, to remember I have a place in this world.
I Am A Stud
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I used to get funny stares in locker rooms.
My classmates would turn away from me as they would change clothes.
They were uncomfortable for it was known I
was that masculine woman.
The type of woman that wasn’t welcome in their homes. The
type of woman that never wore panties or thongs.
The type of teenager who used to sag her pants to
So she could feel that cool breeze
Flow in and out of her boxers.
Hanes and Fruit of the Loom written
just under my navel.
Yes, I am that woman.
A wild child, having grew up in a house
full of feminine women.
A tomboy at heart yet an innocent little girl at mind.
Not knowing my act and repetitions
would become a definition.
This was new to me, as I grew to be…
Scribed into my blood at conception
I was never too soft not to roll around in dirt.
Never too hard not to cry when I was hurt.
I grew to be that woman. No
manicures or pedicures.
I became a deviation from the norm.
Getting complaints from women
Who claimed that I taint their image.
Looks of pity from guys,
Who think we disguise what it means
to be a man in their eyes.
We are despised,
Told we are far from the real thing.
Since there exists no woman who can take their place
And, there exists no woman who cannot like Men They
say we lie to get by and think
we compete with and imitate them.
Female friends who didn’t want to
be seen with me in public, Afraid
of the rumors and lies
That would begin if seen in my presence.
Yet behind closed doors,
they became my lesbian whores.
Hiding me from their friends and parents.
They were too embarrassed to cherish…
As long as it was kept a secret,
they’d reveal themselves to me.
And I am a Stud.
And, I wear the scars of every stud
that has come before me.
Enduring beatings that left them with broken ribs
and empty baby cribs.
I wear the scars of every stud that has come before me.
That stud that was told she could not raise a child
with a woman,
because she was not the man of the house.
Those studs that had to lie and use gay men as alibis,
standing arm and arm on wedding cakes.
Those studs that were told
they would never see the day
a woman legally weds another.
Studs that have been ostracized by co-workers
and disowned by their mothers.
I wear their scars.
“Ag”. “Dom”. “Stud”. “Butch”.
Whatever she called herself
as she stood upon a broken foot.
Shattered bones caused by those who do not
understand and said
“Look! I’m Just being me!”
Never allowing her pride to be took
Or her balance on this Earth to be shook.
I wear the scars of every stud
that through blood sweat and tears…
Worked hard for the chance for me to be… ME.
Studs that have been raped by men
who were trying to prove a point.
Studs that have been cursed
by the military and every church,
Then were forced to question their worth.
Studs that have to endure the rude
who see them as gender confused.
Studs that get hated on and disrespected
by some ignorant ass dudes.
We are pilots. We are lawyers.
We are doctors. We are cooks.
We are scientists. Musicians. Soldiers. We are books.
We’ve been through it all
and through it all we’ve learned to do it all.
I wear the scars of studs who date other studs and
have to be told by their own kind
that it doesn’t make sense.
The studs that aren’t too caught up in the label
to allow their woman to go down on them.
The studs who wore tuxedos to prom
and full suits to work.
The androgynous souls that Native “Americans”
see as Kindred spirits.
Studs that prove genetics are synthetic. I
am a Stud.
I have walked through many hallways
With braids, locs, and bald fades… Proud.
Though I’ve heard whispers from within the crowd. With
our low-pitched voices.
Tones deeper than our sisters’.
Everywhere we go we’re mistakenly referred to as
“sir” or “mister”.
Walking into public bathrooms with
our timberland boots.
Causing discomfort to those who suppose that we are
confused about the sign on the outside of the door.
Unable to fathom our identity so we are the enemy
when we step into their vicinity.
Causing straight women to become bi-curious,
for we touch with a softness.
Softer than a man’s hands.
They can’t resist the way we strap up
and perform better than any man can.
Studs who want their chest to stay flat.
Sporting snapbacks and wave caps.
Wearing ties and Stacy Adams to work.
Air force ones and fitted caps on weekends.
Us studs… We go through pain, tease, and torment.
Forced to be dormant, but dormant-more or less it
is for the best.
Cause I’ve tackled teen pressure
and took extreme measures,
To just be… who I… am.
Our bond is dying and it is time to revive it.
We must flip the bandwagon over
and school the kids who ride it.
Cause our existence is universal.
I don’t go to any rehearsals for this shit.
This is isn’t an outfit I put on for the act.
You can’t wear this shit for a day then hang it right back on your rack.
This isn’t a pair of shoes that can fit anyone
who wants to wear them.
Cause I am a Stud.
You may not hear me on your mp3 or see me on MTV,
But I’m here, though people choose
to ignore our many talents.
With a stud state of mind in this day and time, I
refuse to wait in line to be heard.
It is our day to shine and it begins with these words.
Through the hesitance and negligence.
Having been viewed as some sort of freak show.
It’s ok, cause WE KNOW.
And proudly I wear the scars,
We are infinite beings, existing by innocent means.
We are the ones who can implement
both queens and kings.
And if there is mystery in that
then you don’t know the history of that. I
AM A STUD.
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I live in a world where everything is black and white.
You’re either this or that.
Nothing outside or in between.
Before I reached my teens
my brain was trained in these extremes.
A mental wall was even built to
separate kings from queens.
Boys wear blue. Girls wear pink.
Leave emotion to you. Leave it to men to think.
Women are weak cause women feel.
Men are strong cause men build.
I arrived on this planet
in my most natural androgynous form.
Yet, everyday I’ve been subjected
to man-made societal norms.
In a world where women
are to submit and let men be in control I
had to find my own place
since I don’t fit in with gender roles.
Ever since I was small I knew I was different.
I was my mother’s pride and joy
but I remember wishing I was a boy.
By the time I could dress myself
to when adolescence reached its peak
I began to express myself but was only seen as a freak.
It has been some long hard years on
this journey to be me,
I struggled with my identity ‘til I found a home in LGBT.
Getting harassed and being stared at
just seems to be a part of who I am.
But androgyny has existed throughout the history of man.
Before Europeans came with their religion
and their disease…
The Natives looked to beings like me
to meet the community’s spiritual needs.
With psychic abilities, we were healers, metaphysicians
And, medicine men.
These androgynous souls referred to as “two spirits”
were evident then.
We weren’t ostracized but monopolized
as village leaders in our existence.
We were social workers and adoptive parents,
and weren’t seen as any different.
We were marriage counselors and communicators
beyond the lines of physical dimensions.
There was no “LGBT”.
There was no separate community to mention.
So, what happened?
How did we go from being accepted to being neglected?
How did we come to be “sodomites”
from which we were praised and much respected?
We were glorified as seeing the world
through the eyes of both sexes.
Then, Europeans came along
with their standards and objections.
Females are submissive. Males are dominant.
Gender roles and standards are prominent.
Men give. Women receive.
Society just moves along with ease.
We’ve been shut out by man-made dogma
and forced to exist in gender confines.
Yet, there are still a billion “me’s”
society now chooses to leave behind.
We’re so caught up in distinctions, the
blacks and whites of stereotypes
We’ve forgotten that beyond gender, beyond titles…
We’re all just light.
We’re so much more than our physical bodies. It doesn’t always matter what
For, even Buddha was a little feminine and Jesus was as pretty as me.
I think it’s interesting how those who hate me most tend to have Bibles in hand.
Yet, their God speaks to me in a frequency that supersedes what’s written
I am strong and I wear pink. I’m emotional but I also think.
I’m the yin and yang of those who have lied just in order to survive.
The world will not stop spinning just because beings like me exist.
It is a gift of the most high
to be one who relates to both sides.
Why should I be subjected to and accused of morale famine?
When in the days of indigenous man, they took us and made us
I am nature and nurture.
My queerness has taught us to be fearless.
So, I won’t deny my two spirit
for the uncomfortable who fear it.
I define my duality. I don’t let others do it for me.
We come from different walks of life
and there is no specific walk that is right. So, the next time you want to
close a door. The next time you want to put me in a box. Keep in mind I
specialize in keys.
Keep in mind I specialize in locks. I am the gray area…
And, though I feel there are no boxes for me to check… Don’t be mistaken. I still look
damn good in a dress.
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I redefine, redesign, and realign.
Transform in ways that free your mind.
King and Queen in balance. That’s a hell of a talent.
Reborn of Source. Like tree to vine.
I rise to the challenge of communal ignorance.
Extending branch of the olive
For a history acknowledged.
I am universal expression, but human born.
Meeting of many intersections, true to form.
I refuse to pick a side, by your rules I won’t abide.
I set aside your gender pride and let it ride.
Side to side, up and down, back and forth.
Two-Spirited Shamans and Navajos have passed the torch.
Tribal history mentions me
I get out of all your boxes. Like Lauryn and locksmiths.
Just how time differs. Us paradigm shapeshifters.
Cycle in and out of skin like face lifters.
I am attached to nothing, yet connected to everything.
Like werewolf to full moon, commit to change like wedding rings.
Not to be mistaken for deceivers in shape.
Color trickery in the grass, hard to see all the snakes.
I can tell when it’s natural, I can tell when it’s fake.
A time-traveler from the past, before evolution and apes.
I live to bend, the many rules I transcend.
Overflowing like water at Dams end.
Breaking walls, breaking barriers
Flooding your town with this truth
Replanting trees of acceptance with gold at its root.
Blocking seeds of deception, for I’m old in my youth.
Our ancestors would shapeshift to behold fruit.
There are few things you can call me, that I haven’t been at least once.
I am all things. Through the days, and week’s months.
I am all queens. Thrones growing from tree stumps.
I am all kings. With blood of deceased monks.
Identify with many cultures yet deprived of any vultures.
One minute I am Buddha, the next I’m a soldier.
Neither guilty or innocent. I can pass for my benefit.
For, I know I’m of the stars like astrophysicists.
I am Godly, demonic, beastly, and human.
Neither a front or an act. I am fluid.
I am Harriet Tubman. Huey Newton. And Elon Musk.
A scientist and freedom fighter of Cosmic dust.
Dating back to mythology.
To performing artists and Ptolemy.
I am the center of my universe. Symbolically.
In control of my senses. Power over my defenses.
Of myself, I am ruler. Like centimeters and inches.
Spirit animal. Differential.
Play all sides, fight all fights…
With collateral nonconventional
Sabbaticals are intentional
As I navigate metamorphosis.
Magical are the rituals of the Hijras. The proportionate.
Kinnars of song and dance, with deluxes of muxes.
Those from ancient land, wearing both dresses and tuxes.
…I liberate myself from societal bondage.
Free my existence from your labels, for growth is constant.
*Shifting like Hindus and Krishna,
Validated by the universe,
Not these humans here on Earth.
This is a gift, not a curse.
Life and death is one in the same. I die as I rebirth.
I’m a vegan. A talking head.
But, also Negan, the walking dead.
Revelation as my design, through portals of the Dao.
Both natured and divine, the immortal of the now.
All that is, is in process of endless change.
Yet they judge and condemn, say forward progress is strange.
So, this is food for my community,
We must end these showdowns.
Of those bending and transcending pronouns.
Zhuangzu once said we are liberated beings.
So, I’m a king and a queen. But I’m not, I’m all things.
Enlighten my people to this progressive movement.
They deny our history and I’m here to simply prove it.
Day Alter. Day drifter.
Skinwalker. Face lifter.
Redefine. Redesign. Realign.