Crossing Lines. a poem by Jennifer Wenn

Jennifer Wenn

Crossing Lines

I am a transperson,
and thus, for some have crossed a line,
become an unwanted, disruptive element
crashing the party of their comfortable psyches.
It was not always thus,
so long as my male avatar soldiered on,
so long as my female truth remained
     bound and gagged,
they were not disturbed.

But this is not a whim or a whimsical choice,
not some neurotic obsession,
rather, beyond psychology or sociology,
deeper than marrow,
this is our very soul, my very soul,
so eventually and inevitably,
while chanting To thine own self be true
a flaming sword sundered her bonds
     and out she strode,
only to be deemed a line-violator,
and, for its guardians, morph into a
respect-free other, worthy only
of glares or maybe a 
malicious shout of “Tranny!”

Nevertheless, she persisted, has since
claimed a domain, found support,
found friendship and community,
but threats may lurk in any space, any encounter,
like the vigilante at World Pride
who figured I’d crossed a line into
being property, and in broad daylight
smugly grabbed my crotch.
In darkly satisfying fantasies
I drilled him in the gonads or
slapped his smirk into next week;
reality was sitting there being
consoled by a young lady saying
Don’t worry, he always does that.

But look around, I am only one person,
look around and find that my vigilante’s
contagion is still very much here,
flowing from the mouths and pens
of malignant bigots ranging from
so-called comedians who mock us
to wealthy authors who deny we even exist
to an adult film star ranting for us to be lynched,
all this despite ostensible improvements and
blossoming visibility.

So yes, look around, as I am just one woman,
better off than most of my trans family,
many run gauntlets I am spared
due to privileged location and economics,
to my, and society’s, shame, my Caucasian
skin colour confers benefits,
and unlike a few folks I know
I have not been beaten.

Now gaze farther afield over our oft-dangerous globe
and find it is easy to descry locales dominated by
those aghast at our audacity in merely being,
who scoff at lesser and prefer abomination,
eyeing a hell-hole jail or execution
to obliterate our transgression 
of their warped boundaries.

But officialdom is not the end of it,
too many of us, wherever we are,
incur the deadly wrath of the mob
or the lone predator.
Witness Dwayne, not so many years ago:
What line did she cross?
     Wanted to socialize as herself, for the first time.
Consequence?  Beaten, stabbed, shot and run over
by self-appointed defenders of gender.
Final words as she stood her ground?  I’m a girl!
And here is Nikki, much more recent.
Her line?  Went on a date.
Upon trans identity being disclosed
her sensitive companion felt no option but to 
strangle her with a phone charger cord and
dump her on a hillside.
Or consider Alexa, homeless, who was
hunted down and assassinated for
the unpardonable sin of using the ladies’ room.
And on and on the blood-soaked list goes.

Dwayne, Nikki, Alexa,
just three of far too many.
I honour them and their bravery,
I cry out that they blessed Creation
     with priceless value and meaning,
I refuse to forget their senseless, tragic and
     often horrific deaths,
I mourn lives cut far too short,
I mourn potential unrealized,
I mourn for those who cared about them,
I weep for their awful suffering,
I rage and howl at a world that still
     harbours hatred such as this.

My name is legion hissed the demon,
and some would cast us in the same role,
would likewise cast us into swine to be drowned,
but we aren’t going anywhere,
for we are children of God, we are a host
demanding the erasure of all those infernal lines,
demanding an end to the hatred and violence,
demanding justice for the victims and
     judgement for the guilty,
demanding space free from fear alongside everyone else,
celebrating our wondrous and excruciating journeys
     and the wisdom only they can bring forth,
celebrating our incomparable beauty and strength,
for yes, we are a host, living and spirit,
with gifts for humanity beyond measure
that was in the front line at Stonewall
then somehow pushed off the progress train,
but no more, never again, 
we aren’t going anywhere,
for yes, we are children of God, we are a host
demanding the eradication of those infernal lines,
demanding an end at last to the hatred and violence,
demanding justice now for the victims and
     judgement for the guilty,
demanding space for all of us free from fear,
celebrating our wondrous and excruciating journeys
     and the wisdom only they have brought forth,
celebrating our incomparable beauty and strength,
for yes, we are a host with gifts for humanity beyond measure
and we will finally claim our place in the sun,
indeed we will haunt the earth till doomsday
in unceasing quest of that better tomorrow.

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Jennifer Wenn is a trans-identified writer and speaker from London, Ontario, Canada. Her first poetry chapbook, A Song of Milestones, was published by Harmonia Press (an imprint of Beliveau Books).  Upcoming is her first full-size collection, Hear Through the Silence (from Cyberwit). She has also written From Adversity to Accomplishment, a family and social history; and published poetry in numerous journals and anthologies. She is also the proud parent of two adult children. Visit her website at https://jenniferwennpoet.wixsite.com/home

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie is now completing her first novel where, for a family with a Seventh-day Adventist father and a Mennonite mother, the End Times are just around the corner. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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