One Poet Is Questioned About Their Gender All The Time. This Is Their Response.

You don't want to miss this.

E.J. Schoenborn has had enough of people's questions.

It's often that the poet is asked what their gender is, whether it's by someone working behind a makeup counter, or a man in a pickup truck. Schoenborn identifies as a queer, nonbinary transgender femme, meaning they don't identify within the confines of "male" or "female" as a transgender individual, but leans toward femininity. 

Schoenborn took their experiences with gender identity and turned them into a poem titled "What Gender Are You?" that they performed for Button Poetry.


Schoenborn's poem takes the audience through the varying emotions they experience when their gender is questioned, rejected, or misinterpreted if they wear a feminine outfit and are asked if it's a Halloween costume.

With these feelings in mind, they're not afraid to admit the negative thoughts that come with proudly proclaiming your gender.

"Some days, my gender can't smile, but that's OK," they said. 

Even though they know they need to practice self-love.

"My gender is a series of love letters I forgot to send to myself," they said.

Schoenborn also doesn't shy away from sharing that they fear there will always be someone who wants to harm them. 

"When I go to pick up my gender, it tries its best to look like boy, to sound like boy, to shove all its lipstick and eyeshadow into pocket for safekeeping because my gender does not know how many knives are in this stranger's apartment," they said. 

But even with all of the challenges Schoenborn faces being true to themselves, their passion to outwardly express this to the world will never die.

"My gender reaches an arm out of the earth they buried it in, breaks every headstone they put its name on," they said. "My gender rips apart every book that says "opposite sex," claws the word "they" into the chalkboard …"

Check out the powerful piece above!


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