Freedom would be
never again having
to hear a human
or set boundaries
on their perception
of the conditions
of my humanity,

when all I have shared are my pronouns.

“You’re just going to have to be
really patient with me because
I’m old and we didn’t have that
many genders when I was growing up.”

Except, BOOMER, you did.

Genders that never saw the light of day
except in padlocked journals and
the cracks in the sidewalk.

Or in the brush of a fingertip
against satin or leather.

Or only in maybes and what-ifs.

We have the language now to
speak ourselves into existence:
gender anarchists who are polite
when the pain and anger
inside is white-hot.

When someone calls me “it,”
Or says I should kill myself
Or says I’m so fat and ugly
not even Harvey Weinstein
would touch me (WTF?!?!)

I question
my humanity
& wonder
if I am only
a hypothesis.

But my heart still beats
queer and trans
& I exist
& I don’t have time for your binary
& am on a never-ending scavenger hunt
for shards of hope:
they somehow make it worth it,

but freedom would be
to stop clawing
to stop being polite
to scream until my throat bled

& not have someone
referring to me as THEY
(& not SHE, never SHE)

feel like a baptism.

Instead for it to feel like a common refrain.