My Gender Is, by Seraphim Dibble

I am coming out as transgender.
Non-binary.
It isn’t past-tense. Its present and future tense.
I am coming out now, I will be coming out tomorrow.
I will be coming out to people
Who spit the word out like an insult
To strangers asking why I’m in a skirt
To people asking why I can’t just be “normal”
What is my gender, you ask? Let me tell you

My gender isn’t
Stationary.
Nor am I confused
I feel bound neither by the societal confines of being a man nor a woman

My gender is
Whatever the hell I want.
I know what I want
And what I want is to be happy in my body and my soul and my clothes

My gender isn’t
Weewee or hoohoo
Can’t you say the damn word for genitals?
And if you can, what does that have to do with who I am?

My gender is
Non-binary.
My pronouns are they, them, their, and fuck you
Fuck you if you misgender me on purpose because you’re too caught up in your own bigotry

My gender isn’t
Silence.
Nor will I be silent.
I exist in a society that tells me I am not valid, but I am valid no matter what they say.

My gender is
Screaming.
Screaming out at a sudden crisis
A spontaneous fear that I’m not really trans, I just like cross-dressing.
A spontaneous existential crisis
That I’m not non-binary, I’m a woman and am just realizing it
A sudden fear
That I am just wanting to be seen as “cool” or fit in with a group

My gender is
Fitting in.
Not pretending or trying to fit in I’ve been there and there is hell.
My gender is
Fitting in with a group where I finally feel at home and I don’t have to pretend
That I don’t like skirts, pretty nails, and feeling a little feminine sometimes

My gender is
Fuck you.
It’s a middle finger to a toxic masculinity
One that I hid in for twenty five years, and have spent four more shedding

It’s a middle finger to patriarchy
Because what use is it if I’m not using it to oppose the very system that tells me
I don’t exist
I am not valid
I do not deserve happiness
That I should kill myself
It’s an ode to me being who I am and fuck you if you say anything otherwise

My gender is the realization that love is not finite
My gender is the realization that love is not scarce
My gender is the realization that love is for me, for you, for everybody
My gender is the realization that people deserve love, even me
My gender is the realization that it is okay to be mentally ill, and to break down at the smallest thing
My gender is my photography
My gender is marching side by side with me
My gender is hand-in-hand fighting for a better world
My gender is compassionate
My gender cares.
My gender is non-definition
My gender is non-stationary
My gender is non-binary

 

 

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Of the Dark, by Tzula Propp

I remember the dark, it was the first thing there.

You think dark is smooth, but I know better. There are shapes, textures in the dark. In time, you would see them too.

The shapes gave me a boundary, the textures taught me to feel. There were silent voices in the dark, they showed me how to be.

It was like this for a long time. And it wasn’t bad, it was just all that was, all I knew.

But I knew one thing else, that this, it wasn’t me, wasn’t all that could be. Resist the dark, I told myself. Don’t let it in! Shut it out! I belong, just not here. I can be my own light!

Silent voices in the dark pleaded back at me, “Don’t go! Please, stay here, with me.”

But the silent voices needn’t have spoke, my struggle was as hopeless as an ocean wave, fighting to leave the sea. There was no direction that led away from the dark. I swirled and stormed against the only border, my border. Like the wave, I was smashed and renewed and smashed and renewed, inescapably. During that time, I became less of my form, and more of my forming—my boundary expanded. I was my escape, my prison, my home, my storm, my struggle, my voice, my dark, me.

All throughout, I expected mocking from the dark. But the silent voices understood, they were even sympathetic. This was just how it had to be, always. No one belonged anywhere, it would be death.

And this is how it stayed. My storm petered out, and again I was of the dark. I was rejoined with the walls of my prison, the first battleground of my rebellion, enveloping me like a lead blanket. And in time, I forgot why I had tried so hard to leave…

I was comfortable in the dark, and then, my eyes fluttered open, and there was light.

——————————

Playwright: Tzula Propp

Context: This piece has three major inspirations, which are also three different interpretations of the character.

The first inspiration is Brocksandra, a canonically trans character I created for a game of Dungeons and Dragons. She came to life for me more than I meant her to, I find myself returning to her often. She is a tragic outcast from a world of shadows who, despite her bardly demeanor, is deeply incompatible with the world of light around her (she is a Drow, if that means anything to you). I imagine her performing, taking on the role of Najm, the androgynous (and in my interpretation, non-binary) goddex of curiosity. The story is of Najm’s birth from the primordial chaos and rejection of nothingness, but has been made autobiographical in Brocksandra’s telling.

The second is the question, “What is a photon before it leaves an atom?” This question is one without a unique interpretation, and here I give mine.

The last inspiration is the adolescent experience of a non-binary child in a darkly and deeply repressive society. The omnipresent struggle, internalized, is the subject. The final self-coming out happens unexpectedly, following the deepest repressive phase they’ve ever experienced, almost forgetting who they are.

Note regarding the last line: in my original conception, it evoked a sense of divinely tragic irony, somewhere between almost-hope, loss of safety, and being lost. But now I’m not so sure, and encourage individual interpretation.

Contact: Tzula Propp is a grad student at the University of Oregon, where they study quantum information theory. They can be reached at spropp (at) uoregon (dot) edu

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Call for Submissions: The Non-Binary Monologues Project goes to Denver Comic Con!

We are excited to announce that The Non-Binary Monologues Project is going to Denver Comic Con! Thanks to the generosity of Page 23, we’ll be performing in June! This performance is produced in partnership with square product theatre.

We are currently accepting submissions of Comic Con-themed monologues. Please visit our submission guidelines page for details on how to submit your piece. Whether you’re a seasoned playwright or just starting out, we’d love to read your work!

If you’re burning to share some Avengers fan fiction or always wanted to explore Rogue’s inner monologue about the other X-Men, please send us your monologues!

More details on cast, crew and the performance are coming soon.

Deadline to submit: midnight, MST, on May 1st.