Does My Lipstick Scare You? (A Poem For World Transgender Remembrance Day)

Hey everyone. As today is World Transgender Remembrance Day I thought I would write a poem to commemorate this important event. As a transwoman I am only too aware of the stereotyping, prejudices, and annoying misconceptions about how trans people in general and trans woman in particular are viewed by those with less than liberal minds. I am sure that trans male poets will tackle the issues which are important to them but this poem is written from my experience and that experience is of a transwoman.

I have to say that after six years of presenting full time in my acquired gender I have noticed there is a gender difference as to how I am perceived and though I have many good male friends I do think overall women tend to get it more in terms of understanding the issues I face.

One of those issues is transphobia yes don’t laugh but there are some people out there who really do have a deep seated fear of people like me and some cases that fear can turn to hatred and it can in the most extreme even circumstances result in death. In many countries including Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, Turkey, and USA trans people have been murdered this year for no other reason than the fact they were trans. Though Scotland and the British Isles are reasonably safe environments for women like me we must never be complacent. This kind of hate crime can and has happened here. Personally I can’t understand hating someone because of what is after all only one aspect of their personality
So my question to those with transphobic attitudes is contained in the title of my poem which is titled Does My Lipstick Scare You. I hope you find it a challenging and thought provoking read.

Does My Lipstick Scare You?

Does my lipstick scare you?
is the fact I dare to show
a flash of thigh
a threat to your identity
what are you afraid of
do you even know the answer
do you think you can force me
back in the box
in which you would place me
why would you want any woman or girl to lead unhappy lives
denying ourselves the right to be who we are
see that star in the black night sky
It was shining for those who died just for the right to be women
who challenged conventions
and ended up paying the price no-one should ever pay
In the calm of the day I remember them
asking you to think only on this
how would you feel if it was your sister
lying dead on a stone cold street murdered in her own flat
where she was supposed to be safe
I ask again what are you afraid of
does my lipstick scare you?
do find me attractive
are you tempted by my flirtatious charms
are you scared I might not find you sexy
worried I may not respect you in the morning
if we ever had a night together
why should you even care
about the way I look tonight?
or any night come to that
I present as myself as a woman
not a caricature
does my statement dress make you feel insecure
If it does then that’s too bad
I’m glad to be me
I live my life my way
so listen to me when I say
I will be the woman I am
and you will respect me
morning noon and night
as I respect others
I will never judge
It isn’t my style
I get by with a smile
as I realise you are more bothered by me
than I will ever be by you
I think I know why
but I need to say this
you have two choices walk on
or give me a kiss
but before you decide
I need to know
does my lipstick scare you?

@ Gayle Smith 2014

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