Editor’s Note: an extremely personal poem about growing up transgendered that I wrote a couple years ago.
If I were just born a girl, you would look up at me now.
You would smile with your whole face and not just your lips.
If I were just born a girl, we could speak above a whisper here.
You could order coffee without casually reminding the entire room “we’re just friends”.
If I had just been born a girl, I might have known my father’s love.
I might have been his cherished baby daughter; I might have been there when he died.
If I had just been born a girl, I might not have been an orphan for a dozen years.
I might still talk to my family; I might have truly known my mother before this past fall.
But for one single chromosome, I could shop for clothes in the same stores as you do.
I could buy things off the rack, wear exciting shoes and pay regular price for underwear.
But for one single chromosome, you and I could have traded lives.
I would be pretty and you would be the one with broad shoulders, long hands and basketball feet.
If I were just born a girl, I would laugh, sing and squeal at the top of my lungs.
I would share myself with the world without fear of my voice betraying the circumstances of my birth.
If I were just born a girl, I wouldn’t have started to lose my beautiful hair at only seventeen.
I would still be the envy of every woman in my family and never know the horror of cheap plastic wigs.
If I had just been born a girl, you and I wouldn’t even be here now.
You would move on to another safe homosexual fantasy, and I wouldn’t settle for men who loath me
If I had just been born a girl, you wouldn’t treat me like a science experiment – or your whore.
You wouldn’t hide me from your friends or cry “I’m just curious” when I stop your wandering hands.
But for one single chromosome, you wouldn’t be standing in front of me spewing hate.
You wouldn’t care which bathroom I went into, you wouldn’t have called your friends to help punish me.
But for one single chromosome, I could have been the daughter *you* thought was a son.
You wouldn’t see me as your accuser; I wouldn’t remind you of urges you thought you’d buried forever
They say that a chromosome is only one or two micrometers long – funny, if you ask me I’d say it’s the size of an entire world.
- Nina Illingworth.