Posts tagged "gender/sexuality"
Beach City

Beach City

We talked about Miami Beach like it belonged to us, convinced that the tourists who came down to swim in our ocean and dance in our nightclubs were fucking up our city. We were seventeen, eighteen, nineteen-year-old hoodlums, our hair in cornrows, too-tight ponytails, too much hairspray, dark brown lip liner, noses and belly buttons...
You Will Find Me in the Starred Sky

You Will Find Me in the Starred Sky

One day you will hear a physicist say we are all made from the bodies of dead stars, and it will feel as if you’ve known it all along. You’ve long suspected there are particles in space bigger than you were at age three, when Ray went after you with his pants around his ankles...
Naked

Naked

Grandma owned a swimsuit, but she never wore it. She owned other things too, jeans and dresses two sizes small, hanging with tags attached in anticipation of the day they would fit. She wore instead lots of shapeless denim, spent whole days in her dressing gown, loose terry cloth hiding folds of soft stomach. Tonight,...
Shenandoah

Shenandoah

I have frizzy brown hair and I am nine years old and right now my whole universe is a gape—null, nada, total annihilation—and that gape is shaped like a horse. The word Shenandoah sounded like quick-flanked gallop, like tresses flowing mountain-winded, like chestnut shimmering through mist. Like hill and vale (whatever a vale is?), and...
Some Childhood Dreams Really Do Come True

Some Childhood Dreams Really Do Come True

Then I wanted to be a mermaid. But first, I needed the tits and the hair. Hair long enough that it fell in naked curves down my naked chest while I lounged on a rock, luring sailors with my song. Now I have tits and hair down to my ass. You’re probably expecting me to...
“La Vuoi una Mano?”

“La Vuoi una Mano?”

The old man is wearing a black trench coat and holding it wide open, showing a shriveled, pasty penis. “Cazzo,” I say, staring out the train window. Cappella Agnuzzo is one of the few stops on the single-track Ferrovia Lugano-Ponte Tresa line where a passing loop allows two trains traveling in opposite directions to pull...

On Asking the Hard Questions

When I first started writing nonfiction, as an undergraduate creative writing major, I struggled—a lot—to find my subject matter. These days, I write about my ever-evolving relationship with masculinity, particularly now that I have been living openly as a transgender man for five years and have been sporting a beard for three. Back then, though,...
Bornstein’s Theory of Relativity

Bornstein’s Theory of Relativity

It was His Holiness, the XIV Dalai Lama, who put gender into a universal perspective for me. I attended a public teaching with him, last fall in New York. And now I’ve got me a whole new way to look at gender. The three-day teaching I attended bore the mesmerizing title, “Profound Wisdom and Vast...
Who’s Buried in Grant’s Tomb?  Everybody.

Who’s Buried in Grant’s Tomb?  Everybody.

The snow was falling as I climbed the long stairs. There, beneath the spectacular dome of America’s largest mausoleum, I found— nobody. No one except a single ranger from the U.S. Park Service, that is, whom I found quietly reading a novel.  He looked up at me with an expression similar to that of the Knight in Indiana...
After the Hysterectomy

After the Hysterectomy

When you meet someone at twenty-one, someone eight years older and wiser, you learn the world through her eyes. You are a blank slate, a boy who hasn’t lost enough. You adopt what she wants and her views on life. Her interests—nature, birds, the infinite flat of Illinois—become your interests. And suddenly, you, the urban...
One Thing or the Other

One Thing or the Other

They look at us as one thing or the other.  We are eight transsexuals seated at a long table in the middle of a busy Outback Steakhouse carving up our steaks, a dinner group that gathers every Friday, the cast and location varying week to week. Get a group of transsexuals together and we stand...
Recesses

Recesses

Some girls wrap a jump rope around my neck and drag me across the asphalt of the St. Bruno’s School parking lot. Jackie has been pinning me to the ground with the stones of her knees so she could kiss me… and now this. “They were trying to kiss me!” I tell the nun, as...
Mother’s Tongue

Mother’s Tongue

As the teenager stepped through the first set of automatic doors at Target, I was entering from the parking lot. For a few seconds we stood in the foyer area between the sets of double doors. “Aren’t you? Aren’t you?” he asked, his lips quivering with joyful anticipation. In the mid 1990s, the sight of...
Seven Women Hold a Man’s Brain in Their Hands

Seven Women Hold a Man’s Brain in Their Hands

In poetry class a student writes: “The heart is symmetrical.” “No it isn’t,” I say, too harshly.  I know what she means, a few days past Valentine’s, but I’m trying to demonstrate how to be more careful with one’s words, or perhaps how to be more careful with one’s heart.  I vow to set her...
Genderfuck

Genderfuck

In the fifth grade, all the teachers divide you boy from girl and take you into separate classrooms. With the girls, you learn about periods and cramps and tampons, and everyone giggles. Afterwards, you all rejoin the boys, who are holding complimentary sticks of deodorant and laughing among themselves. You wonder what they learned, and...
Heathen, Slave, Woman

Heathen, Slave, Woman

There was a time I hoped my prayers would travel from the Hebrew Academy’s makeshift synagogue in a Hartford basement to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. First, though, I wanted them to move just a few feet, out of the dingy cramped section where the girls sat and into the bright, sacred space I could glimpse...
Mea Culpa

Mea Culpa

I laughed at gay people. I did. I snickered at their crewcuts and sashay and flagrancy. I snickered at the way they bristled about their rights. I did. I accused them of inventing disco. I laughed at their thing for feathers and glitter and fragrance and form-fitting uniforms. I grinned at the epic extravagance of...
When You Knock on the Door at the Suburban Inn

When You Knock on the Door at the Suburban Inn

You don’t want any surprises. Say, “Housekeeping!” Say it again. Louder. A man with a watermelon belly opens the door, and another sitting on the bed says, “Hello, little lady.” He stares at the box TV. A toilet flushes, and a third comes out of the bathroom, pulling up his zipper. “Want some help?” the...