Poetry

I’m on Testosterone, You’re in a Corset

Close-up photo of pink flowers and green leaves on branches of a tree.

Content note: this piece discusses transphobia.


I’m on testosterone.
You’re in a corset.
You’re more visible than me,
So you’re treated differently
At this event, within this scene.
It’s like people don’t quite know
What to do with you.
They think they know what to do with me,
But they call me a girl,
Indicating they really don’t.

Is it a warm welcome
If they do not see me?
Is it acceptance
If it comes with erasure?
Is it friendly
If they keep saying she?

They show me how they treat trans people
With how they treat you.
It’s subtle, but it’s there.
They show me how they treat trans people
With how they treat me.
It’s subtle, but I’m here.

11 thoughts on “I’m on Testosterone, You’re in a Corset”

  1. I relocated with a prior employer when our new store manager found out I was trans. Treated me like he treated the other female employees (ie poorly), but expected me to “take it like a man”. Eventually left 3 years later altogether because I was always told I’d become a supervisor, but when every interview happened, they knocked me down. Within 18 months I almost made double my original paycheck, and still make more now than if I stayed and got that promotion, doing far less work, and in an industry that’s not retail. Coworkers and superiors know I am a trans man, and while I wish for gender essentialism to die, they at least treat me like any other male coworker.

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    1. Ugh, I’m sorry you went through that, such bullshit, but glad to hear you’re in a better workplace now. That can have such a huge impact on your mental health (and, you know, ability to make a livelihood). My current employer is the first one I came out to and they respect that I’m non-binary and use my pronouns (yay!). I’m moving in a handful of months and nervous to change jobs cause I have no idea if my next one will be supportive or not, especially if I go back into customer service, which can be dicey.

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      1. A warning based on my experience: just because a company says they’re open and accepting, doesn’t mean all the employees will be. I worked for someone major once, who was inclusive “officially” , but I still read articles of discrimination at locations across the country, some of which resulted in lawsuits. HR will not always be understanding of our community, especially our non-binary siblings like yourself.

        Even now I work for a different company, and as inclusive as they are externally, my location is in a conservative area, and not everyone I work with is accepting; to clarify, while I’m binary and post-op, people are cool with me, but we have an enby sibling on another shift, and people are not as accepting of them. (Basically, an old school mindset; if you’re trans, you go “from one sex to the other” as they used to say.) Even other LGBs I work with compare us, and I hate it.

        It does get better, just doesn’t mean it gets easier. You will have to fight for yourself, oftentimes alone.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, lots of companies want to perform inclusivity and acceptance (yay rainbow capitalism :P) but when it comes to actually putting that into practice, they don’t tend to follow through. In Canada, we have some decent protections for LGBT+ folks in the workplace, but I’ve still heard plenty of horror stories and also remained in the closet at a lot of jobs myself. Hopefully I won’t have to go back into the closet at my next job, though I am moving to a left-leaning city with a big queer population, so fingers crossed!

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  2. Sober for 21 years in the first week of June. On My last drunk I tried to drive a small truck up a tree and almost killed us both.
    I don’t drink anymore and attend meetings (not always but mostly) that help me remember that picking up a drink can mean total disaster.
    And so I don’t drink.
    But I’m glad you have an understanding of what alcohol does to you. If you ever want to talk my Instagram chat is open.

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    1. Congrats again on the sobriety anniversary!
      And wow, that sounds very scary. Glad you were both okay.
      Appreciate it. Though it’s definitely a rocky relationship, I feel like I’m in a relatively stable place with it at the moment but will keep that in mind. 🙂

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