He wasn’t stupid.
He just misheard in innocence.
I tried to explain my skirt but he stared
at my handbag beside his beer.
What’s dis for, ’ere?
That’s my handbag, I said.
It goes with my gender.
But you’re a bloke, yeah?
Well, yes and no.
(Do I look like one, I mean, really?)
It’s just that when you say man or woman
you leave no space in between.
And that’s where I am.
Yeah, but I could tell,
so why do you do it?
Because it just feels right.
Do you like that t-shirt?
I pointed to the alcoholic brand.
Yeah, that’s why I’m ’ere!
Why am I here?
I sat with him because he jeered.
He wanted friends to know
he was the quick and clever
spotter of trannies on the street.
I could never wear a shirt like that.
Would your girlfriend?
Nah, it’s all flowers and stuff for ’er.
But you wouldn’t mind?
S’pose it would be cool.
And go with her jeans?
Well, yeah, but that’s dif’rent innit?
So we’re all a bit different really
and girls can be boys?
Yeah, but not the other way round,
I mean, it’s, well, girly.
And I don’t feel laddish;
it’s not what’s inside me, so
this is what you see.
Like I said, it’s ‘dys-phor-ia’,
I’m just uncomfortable as a man.
Still don’t understand, mate.
No, he never will.
I take my bag and smile.
Maybe I should have given him a miss.
This and other poems on transgender are in my collection from Bramley Press: Realisations