Poet Ollie Renee Schminkey's Spoken Word Poem 'Boobs' Talks Transgender Identity

There are all sorts of issues facing the transgender community in this country, from high rates of homelessness to unfair arrests to hate crimes. But even apart from these societal factors, being transgender also comes with all sorts of complicated feelings about your body, and the expectations other people have as a result of your body. It's a struggle that poet Ollie Renee Schminkey (who uses gender neutral pronouns) manages to capture in their spoken word poem "Boobs."

"I am not trapped in my body," Schminkey says. "I am trapped in other people's perceptions of my body."

Often trans people are expected to conform to an existing narrative — maybe an existing idea about the "right way" to be transgender, or maybe even a narrative that rejects trans identity altogether. But just as there is no "right way" to be cisgendered, there is also no right or wrong way to be transgender. Yet we often expect transgender people to conform to whatever conception of transgender identity we already have.

In reality, trying to make gender a rigid thing is never good for anybody. How people feel about their gender and what it means for them is ultimately unique to each individual, and we should all be allowed to express our genders however feels right to us, whether we're cisgender, transgender, bigender, or anything else.

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