A Personal Question

You know those bad decisions
The ones you knew, you knew were bad
But something in you, some inspired genius said, “I’m going to ignore all that intuition, common sense and life lessons and just throw caution to the wind”
Dumb fuck

You see, I know he fits the profile: male, wearing shabby clothes, smelling like stale booze, riding the bus looking like he is on the tail end of a hard knock life. Looking like he wants nothing better then to turn around and pass on the beat down.
But these are classist assumptions
And assumptions are keeping me down, hemming me in
And it’s been 12 years
It’s time to peel off the callouses from those years transitioning in the spotlight of unsolicited public opinion
It’s time to open myself up to the strange, beautiful, teeming sea of humanity lapping at my feet
Tapping my shoulder
“My name is _______________.” “What’s your name?”
Cue inane conversation about riding the bus, how our days are going, the Seattle weather
Then, at some point, comes the pause
And a one, and a two, and a…
“Can I ask you a personal question?”
Short pause, as he processing the fact I did not say my line
Because you know, that last question was not, is never really a question, but rather, a declaration of intent
I know what it is, this “personal question”
There is only one, and here it comes:
“Are you a woman or a man”
As if my tastefully, oh so slightly revealed breasts
And my form fitting Athleta dress (on clearance $39.95)
Were not enough of an answer
But it’s not enough
It’s never enough
Because this too is not a question
It’s an accusation
An unmasking
Exposing me for the fraud I really am
Well I have news for you my little Sherlock
I am more fraud then you will ever know
Because while I sit here calmly
Looking to all the world like a well-adjusted person
A healthy and productive member of the human race
Inside I’m reaching over and sawing through your neck with a rusted, serrated blade, severing that ugly waste of space you call a head
Holding it by the hair, blood gushing all over the bus, screaming passengers running to pile up at the doors, it’s madness

I didn’t ask to look like this
I didn’t aspire to sound like this
I don’t want to carry around the scars of puberty for the rest of my life
And it makes me angry when it’s rubbed in my face
But not that angry
I don’t really want to cut your head off
Because even now, fuming, reeling from a conversation turned sucker punch
Even now I know
At some point you were a beautiful newborn child
Come into this world without bias or scorn
And then you watched the same TV and movies as me
And saw that there was such a thing as men who dress up like women, and try to pass themselves off as woman, and that these men were hilarious and pathetic and maybe a little bit dangerous because they could trick you, seduce you, and next thing you know you, my friend, are a faggot
And then you went to the same schools as me
Where the worst thing you could be called, by your friends, enemies and football coach alike, was a pussy
And every day, boys and girls lined up separately, with a wall of space in between, and anyone who dared to reach out across this wall was laughed at and beaten and lost their place
Just like that
And the men in your life, they taught you how to be a man through ridicule, intimidation, and scorn
And you learned that this is what it takes to be a real man, and to be a real man was the best thing you could be, and the worse thing you could be was a womanly man
I understand
You’re a man and that’s all you’ve ever been
All you ever could be
Because the world is divided into two lines
Men and women
And there’s nothing in-between
Just a wall of space
And no one’s allowed to  reach across
No one’s allowed to switch lines
Not even me

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