Advocating For The TRANSGENDERED Through The POETIC Voice Of Lerato Lee Mokobe

2015 so far has moved from the trend of questioning homosexuality (Sam Smith‘s peak) to questioning people with gender mismatches highly because of the outbirth of Famous Caitlyn Jenner. The public figure was considered male (Bruce Jenner) right from birth in 1949 until June, 2015 when the Vanity Fair magazine outdoored her new identity on their cover. Some called her brave, others felt disgust for her gender transition and called her names. However, the public’s reaction to Caitlyn Jenner approves the existence of numerous bigots who discriminate against people whose gender do not match up with their sexes. Laverne Cox, Renée Richards, Kye Allums and Geena Rocero are a few transgender activists. The most unique currently in transgender activism is Lee Mokobe. The 19 year old South African poet and founder of Vocal Revolutionaries used his unusually good talent in poetry, scarce opportunity of being a TED fellow to ensure a continuity in telling the painful story of a transgendered human. Below is a poem to enlighten us on sentiments many of us fail to feel, all because our odd bodies might be in the world of intersexes. It gives us the imagination to live in the bodies of those who found themselves unfit in the bodies allocated to them anatomically.


A Powerful Poem About What It Feels Like To Be Transgender

The first time I uttered a prayer was in a glass-stained cathedral.
I was kneeling long after the congregation was on its feet,
Dip both hands into holy water, trace the trinity across my chest,
My tiny body drooping like a question mark all over the wooden pew.

I asked Jesus to fix me, and when He did not answer,
I befriended silence in the hopes that my sin would burn,
And salve my mouth would dissolve like sugar on tongue,
But shame lingered as an aftertaste.

And in an attempt to reintroduce me to sanctity,
My mother told me of the miracle I was, said I could grow up to be anything I want.
I decided to be a boy. It was cute.
I had snapback, toothless grin,
Used skinned knees as street cred, played hide and seek with what was left of my goal.

I was it. The winner to a game the other kids couldn’t play,
I was the mystery of an anatomy, a question asked but not answered,
Tightroping between awkward boy and apologetic girl,
And when I turned 12, the boy phase waan’t cute anymore.


It was met with nostalgic aunts who missed seeing my knees in the shadow of skirts,
Who reminded me that my kind of attitude would never bring a husband home,
That I exist for heterosexual marriage and child bearing. And I swallowed their insults along with their slurs.

Naturally, I did not come out of the closet.
The kids at my school opened it without my permission.
Called me by a name I did not recognize, said “Lesbian”,
But I was more boy than girl, more Ken than Barbie.

It had nothing to do with hating my body, I just love it enough to let it go,
I treat it like a house, and when your house is falling apart,
You do not evacuate, you make it confortable enough to house all your insides,
You make it pretty enough to invite guests over, you make the floorboards strong enough to stand on.

My mother fears I have named myself after fading things.
As she counts the echoes left behind by Mya Hall, Leelah Alcorn, Blake Brockington.
She fears that I will die without a whisper,
That I will turn into “what a shame” conversations at the bus stop.


She claims I have turned myself into a mausoleum,
That I am a walking casket, news headlines have turned my identity into spectacle,
Bruce Jenner on everyone’s lips while the brutality of living in this body,
Becomes an asterisk at the bottom of equality pages.

No one ever thinks of us as human, because we are more ghost than flesh,
Because people fear that my gender expression is a trick, that it exists to be perverse,
That it ensnares them without their consent,
That my body is a feast for their eyes and hands, and once they have fed off my queer,

They’ll regurgitate all the parts they did not like.
They’ll put me back in the closet, hang me with all the other skeletons.
I will be the best attraction. Can you see how easy it is to talk people into coffins?
To mispell their names on gravestones.

And people still wonder why there are boys rotting,
They go away in high school hallways, they are afraid of becoming another hashtag in a second,
Afraid  of classroom discussions becoming judgement day,
And now oncoming traffic is embracing more transgender children than parents.


I wonder how long it will be, before the trans suicide notes start to feel redundant,
Before we realize that our bodies becomes lessons about sin before we learn how to love them.
Like God didn’t save all this breath and mercy, like my blood is not the wine that washed over Jesus’ feet.
My prayers are now getting stuck in my throat. Maybe I am finally fixed,
Maybe I just don’t care, maybe God finally listened to my prayers.

Thank You.

Achaab Daniel Abalansa
Facebook: Achaab_dan GH
Twitter: @AcHaaB_dAn
IG: achaab_dan_gh

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