is this a gender?
Trans culture is pointing at random objects
& saying That’s my gender
strictly out of sight of cis people because
if they catch you pointing at random objects
& saying That’s my gender
inevitably some disingenuous dudebro journalist
will write a tortured, torturous thinkpiece about
trans people thinking that Mario Kart is a gender
& oh my god, think of the children,
what the fuck, the children, holy jesus, Amen,
when obviously Mario Kart isn’t a gender
but watching your animated avatar crash & burn
in a fiery explosion of pixelated death
while cheerful 8-bit music announces your demise
is directly analogous to the feeling of existing
in the world while also being transgender.
Neon Genesis Evangelion isn’t a gender either
but relatedly, it did turn me trans
which I think explains a lot about me –
who among us doesn’t see a manifestation
of glorious genderqueer expression
in giant violet-&-viridian apocalyptic robots?
Get in the fucking gender Shinji.
I have a lot of unholy rage inside me,
which I try to channel into passion & action
& love but sometimes it just comes out as
weirdly specific cheerful nihilism,
which is also trans culture.
You reach a certain point where
language is inadequate & the only coherent
form of expression lies in strange, baseless,
basement-dwelling internet humour.
I write a lot of poems that facetiously
explain my gender because I feel like
I spend so much time explaining & justifying
my gender & I’m tired of it. I’ve passed
through exhaustion & into sheer frustrated
nonsense, I’ve burned through my patience
& gentleness, my attention to detail & my
endless capacity to be reduced to other people’s
teaching moments. All of this is ash & smoke
& what’s left is pure concentrated memes.
My gender is the troll under the bridge.
That’s all you get. My gender is a seagull
stealing chips from helpless tourists. My gender
is a cultural reference that you’re too young
or too old to understand immediately & you have
to have it explained to you, only the process
of explaining the joke makes it even less funny
& you still don’t get it & you’re beginning to think
that nobody else really gets it either. My gender is
skeletons & anything on wheels. My gender is
that feeling you get when you’re halfway
to the bus stop & you can’t remember if you
left the stove on. My gender is leaving the stove on
& coming home to find that everything you know
& love has burned to nothing, you are nothing,
you no longer exist. You are some kind of ghost,
dead but not dead, alive but aberrant, unrecognisable
to blood relations, to friends & lovers, to medical &
social security records. My gender is what’s left
when everyone else is done mourning the person
I didn’t grow up to be. Shit, that’s dark. Sorry.
Also my gender is that one Dalí painting
with all the melting clocks, because. Same.
When I’m writing poetry about being transgender
I often avoid simultaneously speaking about being
a cripple because people can kind of only handle
one (1) thing at a time, they can’t handle complexity
which is why we have politicians justifying legislative
decisions on the basis of misremembered year 7 biology.
Cis people & bipeds have a lot in common though,
largely that they’re all weirdly obsessed with my legs,
or what’s between my legs, or whether public infrastructure
should prevent me from going to the bathroom.
& by the way there’s something really hopelessly funny
about the social codification of gendered spaces
resulting in the designated genders being Men, Women,
& Wheelchair Users, because – that is definitely my gender.
Neon Genesis Evangelion didn’t actually
turn me trans, by the way, that was a joke,
because I use humour as a coping mechanism
for the inordinate bullshit that you have to wade through
whenever you open your mouth & say something
about the ~Trans Experience~. It’s not that we
don’t take gender seriously or we don’t think this
is serious, like, it’s so fucking serious that 48%
of trans youth in this country have attempted suicide
& I’m one of them. It’s just that when you get to
that point you have to either laugh or just
fucking kill yourself & I already tried that
& it didn’t work out, so, this is where I live now.
If you’re feeling lost at this point
then I want you to know that deep down
the real gender was the friends we made along the way
About the author
Robin M Eames is a queercrip poet and historian living on Gadigal land. Their work has been published by Cordite, Overland, Meanjin, Voiceworks, and Deaf Poets Society, among others.
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