In honor of all the bathroom bill scares out there.
Poem: Walking for Samantha
I'm making this walk for you,
Past the receptionist and around the
call center hallway,
down the maintenance stairwell that smells of damp brick,
Through the furnace room
and past a cube farm filled with Banker's boxes
nobody will ever open again,
because I need to use the ladies' room.
My penis is magical.
Her mere presence in your bathroom-
limp and atrophied and raisinettey
from estrogen and years of tucking
as it may be--
emits a force field that attracts evil male rapists
in fantastic dresses and shawls
to come a-knockin' on the ladies' room door,
hungry faced, grabby-handed, crazed for
female, feminine flesh.
I get it.
A person has got to have principles, right?
("It's this or the men's room," is the management principle, as if
telling Samantha-that-doesn't-hate-me to relax would trigger the
moral panic of the century, dogs and cats falling from the sky, hellfire
and brimstone and Liberty Counsel lawyers knocking on doors
with "personal endangerment and assault by means of tranny" charges
pinned to their lapels - you know, believable stuff)
I think about you -- you strong-willed woman, you --
and take cold comfort in the peace-of-mind our
compromise gives you and your penis-free stalls
as I make the five-minute march downstairs
curling around the forgotten guts of our office complex.
And I know you meant no offense, Samantha-whose-Christian-upbringing-
no-siree, when you stood up at my coming-out meeting
and spoke for every girl in the room when you said that I
wasn't a girl,
couldn't be a girl,
will make every girl uncomfortable,
(Making beady eyes at upper management as if to beg for my termination
at the behest of your offense,)
I stood at the front of the room
patting tears under my eyeliner and trying not to faint
as I stood on display:
a freak behind glass, where the villiage brings the torches.
You spoke daggers and threw
at my identity.
(Majority rules, after all!)
But just maybe, Samantha-it's-just-a-moral-issue,
you can see it from my perspective?
I mean, is your peace-of-mind worth
My walk of shame?
You say you worry about men in women's bathrooms but then
Ask management to send me into the men's room--
Did you picture me, with my
my cute blouse and business skirt,
My meek voice and my curvy frame,
Sitting defenseless in a stall
Surrounded by irate guys staring me down,
hungry faced, grabby-handed, crazed for
female, feminine flesh:
Is my risk worth your magical, penis-free air?
you're not the first to put me last.
When I told my mom I was a girl.
she said, "What will everyone else think?"
and when Dad found the picture of the boy-toy crush
He threatened me within an inch of my life and said
"You will not bring shame on this household";
and after I walked away from sleeping pills and vodka,
after I'd kept my secret for so many years
Hoping I'd beat the habit
or find a way to make my goddamn male life work
I broke down, came out, and I said "I need you now
more than ever"--
"I can't stand to see your pictures and hear your voice."
"I don't want you to call me again."
"How dare you humiliate me!"
Everybody else takes their piece of my pie
And says I owe them more.
Let me spell it out for you,
You just don't like me.
Sure, you say you like me as a person
but let's be honest: you think I'm dirt.
Lipstick-on-a-pig male trash.
You want me gone. Fixed. Saved.
You want my life to be miserable enough that I'll come crawling back.
You don't say this, but you mean this.
I'll be honest.
I'm not taking this walk so well.
I don't want to be the angry tranny or anything
but since you got a bee in your bonnet
I end up running across hell's half acre like some sort of circus freak
just because I have to pee?
Do you think I'd be a little angry? I'm not.
I want to take a swing at you when you say "Can't you be happy without transition?"
that I'm less than, almost like, look like,
Just Like a Real Woman.
Or that you know women and now you're suddenly some
riding down on me with nightsticks and angry man-in-dress arguments.
I'm tired of feeling like I have to knock on every door in the neighborhood like some sex offender to say "Hi, I used to be a man, but I'm a woman if that's okay with you?"
Or being expected to share the exact configuration of my crotch
and that my breasts are real, and no, you can't feel them,
and no, I'm not going to tell you if it still works
or if i can still have sex
or if I've had "the surgery"
or if I'm "all woman down there now"
or if I made my outie into an innie
or whatever-the-hell else you want to euphemize for my genital configuration
by strangers on the streets, coworkers in the company
Concerned Women for the Cubicles
before they send me away to my tomb of a bathroom like a kid in timeout,
An interloper in their gendered world
a loose thread to be tucked away.
And I'm sick.
TIRED of feeling like
you and me and we
would be happier if I were to take the 120-volt cord hanging down from the the ceiling,
tie a noose,
hang myself by the neck in my little potty-tomb
until I am completely,
out of your life,
Invisible once and for all.
I stare at the cord and wonder, sometimes. I really do, Samantha-who-means-no-harm.
So, when you came to me after your little tirade with a
and a handful of Chick tracts in your hands
to say "Jesus loves you, but He hates your sin"
and acted like there were no hard feelings at all,
I did stare you down and give you the cold shoulder.
I saw your face - priceless, really - with that flustered,
"That-tranny-can't-tell-me-off!" sneer to your lips,
the anger in your eyes, the hiss in your teeth..
I was contemptuous--
when I told you and your religion to promptly fuck off.
And I hate liars
Even more than you hate trannies.
(HR left your complaint on my desk this morning.
But I'm not going away
just because you'd rather I disappeared from your world.
I'm going to smile at you every day
and force you to talk about clothes and kids and soap operas
and for as much as you'd like to put me back in that man's room
and never, ever, ever again think that a boy could be a girl,
I know where I belong, sister,
and I'm not going to make this walk for you forever.