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  • Writer's pictureDon Rearden

A Part Neanderthal’s Declaration on Gender and More

I'm more Neanderthal

than the rest of you Homo sapiens

so perhaps this provides me

a little space to weigh in

on all this outrage and fake rage

discrimination and incrimination

incivility and harassment

behavior unbecoming humans


I did not choose

to be born ridiculously hairy

I've had people pet my arm

like I'm some kind of dog

comment on my fur

does this keep you warm?


I don't think anyone is born

wanting to be this way

no one ever uttered:

oh how I wish for hair on my hands

like some kind of monkey


there are no products

at the store

for people who want

to look this way

because, well ---

and let's leave it there


I think of the kids

born feeling their

gender is wrong


I endure the light hearted jokes

survived the Teen Wolf cracks

yet I'm still not comfortable

in my own skin

but I won't ever face laws

saying I can't wax or shave


no one is going to beat me

berate or belittle me


I think of the kids

brave enough to be

who they are inside


as much as I detest

my own pelt, second only

to a sea otter

self-deprecation a mechanism

of defense and survival

I'm not labeled

deemed a threat


no one is going to rape me

begrudge or judge me


I feel sorry for all those adults

who think of the kids

as the problem

adults who fear men in mascara

afraid of women with biceps

anyone with the balls

to be themselves

afraid of pronouns?


and let's not ignore

the elephant in the womb

a political party in drag

pushing laws their own

children don't support

dividing and inciting


can we do this one thing

and stop pretending?


we live in a world

where people are born different

this isn't new, this isn't news


no one is going to kill me

make it illegal to be me


not everyone can say that

too many kids can't say that


so, let this part Neanderthal poet

remind you what trans means:

across, beyond, to go beyond


can we do that?

go beyond this ignorance,

across the divide

to reach a place

of understanding, of compassion?


the kids deserve this

and beyond more




[April 27, 2023 #27 for National Poetry Month. Poem written in response to all the anti-trans legislation and fear mongering happening here in Alaska and across this country. ]

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