Gender Identity


poem by Amanda Leigh Rogers


My orientation was easy to figure out,
but I’ve been questioning my gender now
for years. An easy target by age five.
They called me “girly boy” in basic training
just like kindergarten only louder.
Before I even realized what gay meant
I knew in Oklahoma it was bad.
It’s not my genitals. They’ve always worked
for me. It’s masculinity itself,
the hardness of my body and my face.
I came to terms with it the first few months
of my deployment, even wrote a doctor
to discuss the possibilities. On leave
I wove my way through Washington in drag.
I loved the freedom, loved the feel of being
a nobody, anonymous. I loved
the touching chivalry of men. Not all
men reek of violence and machismo.
I think I wouldn’t mind going to prison
or even being executed much
if it wasn’t for the possibility
of being plastered all over the press
TV, the web, in photos… as a boy.