Byrd, from Not Funny, by Avery Kester

[A young person sits with a drink in their hand. They’re at their home, maybe in just their underwear, it’s that kind of a night.]

BYRD. Why do straight men always ask me, “What’s the biggest penis you’ve ever seen?” Not a funny question. What they really mean is, “What’s the biggest penis you’ve ever sucked off, had in your ass, held in your hands, yadda yadda… “ and of course what’s under that is, “My penis size is my only indicator of my self-worth and I need to feel validated.” Once again, not funny. Why do straight men always ask me this? Why, why, why, why… and I always give my answer, because I hope it will shock them. I hope they will come away from it thinking “Why do I bother with this?”

[Pause. A drink.]

I always tell people this story as if it’s funny. I’ll say something like, “The biggest dick I ever saw was on a woman. Very petite, slender thing, she was packin’.” People laugh. It’s not really funny. “Shocked the hell out of me.” I say. When I think about it, and to my trans friends, it’s funny because such a big dick was on such a small person. Sometimes I’ll continue that story and tell them about how such a big dick didn’t really fit anywhere… but not always. That’s the funny part. But when I tell most cisgender people that, especially the straight guys, they think the funny part is that a woman has a dick. That’s not what I meant. Not funny. Not funny.

[They’re shifting around, perhaps uncomfortable.]

Maybe the funny part is that these men who ask me, who ask me “What’s the biggest penis you’ve ever seen?” are so insecure about the size of their dicks, desperate for validation, and I get to say “I once fucked a girl with a 10 inch monster dick.” I am careful who hears this story, I don’t tell everyone. I don’t tell anyone who would tell me that this fact makes her not a woman, well not on purpose anyways.


It’s not funny. She misgendered me while in bed together. The only trans person I’ve been with to ever do so. She misgendered me after we fucked, we were lying in bed tangled up with each other. She asked me how I was, I said good… very good. I asked her how she was, and she said “Well I’m lying in bed with a beautiful girl so… can’t complain.”

[A drink.]

Yeah that was after we fucked. Not funny. I’ve never laughed about it. Lying in bed with a beautiful girl… lying… in. Bed. It did hurt, like a knife to the gut. Why? Why? WHY? We’ve gone through a whole evening coming into night together… whole evening… had a whole ass conversation beforehand. She knew I was nonbinary. Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh fucking yeah she knew. She knew. “Lying in bed with a beautiful girl.” Never do I feel that dysphoria more strongly than when someone misgenders me while I’m laying naked on top of them.


I always tell people this story as if it’s funny. I didn’t even stay in bed with her the whole night. I threw my clothes on and slept on the couch. Why why why why why… She texted me at 6am when she woke and found me gone, I remember this so keenly… “Come back… I miss you….” Why? I always tell people this story as if it’s funny. Misgendering people… not funny.

Z, from Retrograde, by Sav Souza

Z (they/them)
There was this German-exchange student in my class junior year.
She was basically fluent in english
and one day she turned to me really frustrated
and said, “I just talked to the cute boy with the locker next to mine and I’m having this feeling and I have no idea how to say it.”
And I said, “Maybe try words?”
And she said, “No- I know it in German, but there is no word in English.”
So, I was like “Can you use other words to try and explain it?”
And she said, “It’s Verschlimmbessern.”
And I said, “…bless you?”
And she went on to explain that it was the word for that situation when you mess something up and everytime you try to fix it, all you do is make matters worse,
and I was like, “You have a word for that? We just say that entire explanation.”
And she was like, “That is so much work.”
And I was like, “I KNOW RIGHT?! And also so sorry about your mishap with the cute boy.”

So I invited her over for a like sleepover thing and we stayed up all night as she told me all these weird translations of German words that we don’t have an equivalent for.
Some of the highlights were:
Kummerspeck- which literally translates to “sorrow bacon” and is the German word for “extra weight gained from emotional overeating”.
Schadenfreude is essentially that gratifying feeling you get when your piece of shit misogynist uncle’s third wife leaves him for another woman.

The Maasai people of Kenya have- I kid you not-
17 different words for the English word “cattle”,
And there is this language spoken in the Philippines that literally has like 20 for “rice”.
So like!!!
Don’t even get me started on languages that assign a gender to everything and everyone-
literally everything-
my toothbrush is a boy, my sandwich is a chick-
It doesn’t make sense!
I’m trapped in a box by language and it’s lack of ability to rise up to the complexities of human identity. If our experience and understanding of the world is so heavily based on the language we speak, then why do we limit our understanding with the language we create?

About the piece:
Retrograde is a one act musical that takes place inside of the mind of the main character, Z, as Retrograde Amnesia erases their memories from their brain after an accident. Through the piece, Z travels through memories that were formative in their identity and experience as a human- good and bad. This monologue takes place in the beginning of the play as Z is just getting to know this new world they are trapped in and are wandering and wondering amongst their many thoughts and existential questions about our experiences as humans.

Please reach out to contact (at) savsouza (dot) com for inquiries, questions, or interest.