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Gender by ZW


My gender is something

Something so perfect

Like a sphere of black goo

Floating in space


A concept so void

No human could understand

Not even me

No, not even me


Are you a boy? A girl?

I always say a boy

That is true

In a way


I like being a boy

I love being treated as one

Called one



That's not all.

A bit of girl

Just a bit

But there's more


It's agile as a cat

Joyful like the sun

Shy as the moon

Loud as a puppy

but still quiet as a mouse


It wears flowy dresses and skirts

eyeliner and lipstick

when someone says


it shakes its head


It isn't a girl,

but it doesn't mind being called one.

But don't call it they.

It isn't a they.


It is bright colors

it's lying under a warm blanket

on a snowy afternoon

it's jumping into the pool

on a hot summers day


It's loyal as a dog

and kind as a deer

Sometimes it's loud

or too quiet to hear


Every time it's put in a box

it never quite works.

Girl, boy, neither, both..

So many labels have been shoved on it

none fit, always a little off


Most of the time,

it doesn't like my body.

But sometimes,

in twirly skirts and dresses

it smiles brighter than the sun

with huge breasts

and eyeliner that goes all across my face

it feels happy


It wants to dress like that more,

however, it is called something it's not.

"she", "girl", "woman", " ma'am".

it isn't fully a boy,

but it knows

it isn't a girl.


My dad tries to put a bow on it

and call it "daughter"

or "talyn"

that's not it's name.

"that's not my name"

it tries to say


"i'm not a girl"

it cries

but he doesn't get it.

he never will.

"my little girl, what happened?"

he doesn't know

it was never a girl.

but it didn't know that yet.


at school

people call it "toby"

it doesn't mind that.

that isn't it's name

but it's better.

most people call it "he"

or "him"

it likes that.


my mom and brother

they know who it is

they call it "zach"

and "brother"

and "son"

i enjoy hanging out with them

because they understand better than most

they love us for us

so we love them for them.


people online

they understand

they *really* understand.

i can tell them how i feel

and always, one person will go

"i understand that, me too!"

that's what i like about the internet.


you can meet people who really get you.

they get your weird quirks

and your feelings

they give you something to look forward to

every single day

they give you a reason to keep going.


some people understand

some people don't

some people might try to learn

some people don't care

but either way, you're you

and nobody can change that.

 by Z.W.*, Colorado USA
 Because so many of our community are parents of children just like Z, we invited Z's Mom to share some of her thoughts about Z's poem and journey.  You can find that here.  

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