I was inspired to write this poem because of the controversy surrounding Russel Tovey’s “effeminate” remarks. The photo above is of my my brother and myself. I’m on the left, he is on the right. It shows a time when my mischievous nature was revealed and my brother’s wild happiness comes through. It’s one of my favorite photos of the two of us. Though the poem isn’t about us, it is about me losing a part of myself, it is taken from this time when I was still that sissy boy in the photo.
This subject effects far more than those of us who were born as men, who didn’t quite act the way everyone else thought we should. I see how this issue touches women’s lives. I’ve watched far too many woman hide their intellect, their aggression, their passions and ambitions to make men comfortable. I see how it touches the lives of people with other shades of skin, how they are expected to act, how they are expected to genuflect, how they are expected to keep silent or be punished. I see it in those who travel and settle in other places of the world with the expectation that they will shed their language, their past cultural identity, all under the pretense of assimilation.
Casting off parts of yourself to keep others happy not only diminishes you, and all your potential, it diminishes all of us.I should know I’ve been through the experience.