By Ruth Sybil May
Why do you hate me so?
With your grimaced face
and body tight
You swivel to meet my gaze
With horror painted on your face
Mouth gaping as if inviting flies to rest
Eyes assaulting my perpetually politicized body
“I’m left heavy hearted and visibly vulnerable” Tweet This Quote!
You scrutinize my appearance and recoil in disgust
I brace myself to be rendered publicly humiliated yet again
I await your scathing critiques as if I am on trial
A hush falls over the passerby jury in conflicted anticipation
This scenario has become all too familiar
My whole body tenses
Feeling like a display of dismay
You despise my effeminacy, a transmisogynist at heart
But what really set you off?
Was it my well-kept head of soft, light-brown curls cascading past my broad shoulders?
Or the radiant glow of my meticulously moisturized skin?
Perhaps it was the floral print button-down my own father refused to purchase for me years ago?
Was it my queer femme essence, exuded through every movement, gesture, and breath?
He shouts “Are you in a rock band?”
As if to say the only legitimate reason for having hair as long as mine must be attached to some over-masculinized notion of a rock figure
I respond timidly “No.”
Unsatisfied, he spurts “Then why is your hair like that? Are you a boy or a girl?”
It is the latter part of this sentence that has haunted me endlessly
Strangers and peers not knowing how to react to my androgynous spirit taunting me through every stage of my life
I turn away in hopes that my disengagement will repel him
He walks off, still garbling disapprovingly
I’m left heavy hearted and visibly vulnerable
There is no proper consolation for this form of everyday trauma
I call upon the collective, intangible strength of trans and gender nonconforming people everywhere to propel me forward
Our shared experiences of dehumanization, resiliency, and daily resistance bind us together
I collect myself and move onward, knowing full well that this will not be my last encounter with a hostile stranger
Because no matter how kind, beautiful, intelligent, or loving I may be, you will still hate me so
Ruth is a third year undergraduate student at St. Cloud state, studying Women’s Studies and Human Relations. Andy is a transgender non-binary femme person from a working class background with a passion for social justice, fashion, and their dearest cat.