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              Youth Writings & Art

               

              We have collected some art, poetry, songs, and short stories from transgender youth. Not all of these writings have to do with being transgender, but they are all beautiful works of art that we want to share with you. If you would like to submit some of your own creative writing, please send it to us!


              We’re excited to see what you send in, but please remember that the TYEF community hosts folks of all ages, so please use your better judgement regarding content. Names and states will not be included in submissions, and images. Videos will be posted only of non-stealth youth and with parental consent.


              You can email it to us at contact@transyouthequality.org or send it the old fashioned way:


              Trans Youth Equality Foundation

              P.O. Box 201

              Orono, ME 04473

               
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              Book review by Ashton (Ash) (They/Them/He/Him), a 17 year-old non-binary youth

              Book Review of PET by Akwaeke Emezi

              (Content warning: this review covers topics that are included within the book regarding mentions of abuse, mentions of transphobia, and occasionally other sensitive conversations.) 

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              I think, out of all the books I’ve ever read that have included trans characters, this is by far, the best. This book covered so many points throughout the story that, in typical literature, seem to get disregarded; tossed to the side like so many other things that sincerely deserve time in the spotlight. At first, I thought this book was going to be ‘just another book’. I was so very wrong about that; this story was so much more than simply ‘just another book’. The characters within this plot are so beautifully put together, their stories and experiences so well written and honestly make me feel every single emotion woven into their narratives.  I absolutely loved this book and I am proud to say that, after reading it, it’s now my favorite story. 

              PET, written by Akwaeke Emezi, is an amazing work of art. The way in which the author portrays the relationships between the characters- the interaction between families and friends- it’s so beautiful. The way in which they portray transness and queerness in such normalcy (the way it should be shown in everyday life)- it just strikes me as so amazing. 

              Personally, I also love the representation of having sign language and other methods of communication in the story, when Jam, the main character, isn't voicing. Though I am not someone who deals with this, I can see this piece of writing possibly creating a sense of belonging for those who do communicate like Jam when she has a period of not speaking. But then again, I wouldn't want to speak over those who are actively living this experience. 

              Like I mentioned earlier, I really do love the way in which the author presents how the main character is a trans girl. The plot goes on to explain how when Jam was young, she didn’t speak for the first few years of her life and then the symbolization of her first time voicing was very impactful because it was to correct the person of her gender. Her story was that she ended up going on puberty blockers and then was able to get on hormones by the time she was 15, the age she is currently in the book. 

              Another thing that I think is especially beautiful within this story, is Jam’s relationship with her best friend, Redemption. Their entire relationship builds upon trust that has accumulated over the years of knowing one another. The sweet conversations and gentle hand holdings between the two are honestly one of the best representations of healthy friendships I have seen in a while. They respect one another's boundaries, giving each other time to breathe if they need it. It’s honestly so sweet, and I just love their interactions so much. 

              Redemption's parents are another part of the story in which I have a soft spot for. Especially in one scene that Jam witnesses, where Redemptions' mom, dad, and third parent, are hanging out together, seemingly resting after a long day. The three of them just seem so sweet on each other and also on their kids, Redemption and his little brother, Moss. Like three parts of a team, their relationship is yet another example of love being normalized as just another part of the story- as it should be. All three of them honestly just seem so sweet, and just them being part of the story and their relationship existing just makes me so happy. 

              Now, the concept of monsters and angels also seem to be a large part of the basis for the book- a big part of what the story is built on. In short, Lucille, the place in which the story takes place, it is believed that ‘monsters’ are no longer roaming about. Monsters, in this story, are basically people who are abusers or those who have and are committing evil acts. Angels, on the other hand, are thought to be people who fought back against these monsters- people who worked for the good of Lucille and to protect those who were getting harmed. Pet, a creature who emerges from one of Jam’s mother’s paintings, turns out to be a different kind of angel- a special kind that only comes over when needed. The whole story about Jam’s relationship and interactions with this creature is so interesting in so many ways, and honestly it just makes the story so much better as the storyline continues. 

              I also personally relate to the part in the story where Redemption is overcome by the thought of his younger brother possibly being the target of a monster, someone that could be living in his own home. As someone who is extremely protective over my younger sibling, has been through similar acts of abuse and trauma, and having to step in and protect my own brother, this part of the story really hit home. I found something in Redemption’s character that I could relate back to myself, and that is something I really, truly admire in an author’s work. 

              Overall, this was a beautiful story. The author pulled each detail together perfectly, rounding out the rough edges and where the rough edges needed to be shown, they left them. As a nonbinary person, I really enjoyed reading it, and being able to witness the beautiful and raw points of this book. I also personally loved that the author is nonbinary as well and as a writer myself, I hope that someday am able to create a story as amazing as this one. 

              Artwork by Ollie, a 17 year-old transgender boy living in New Hampshire

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              Songs written by a 17 year old female to male transgender youth

              Speak

              Please listen to me 
              I have a voice and I want to speak 
              Let me be free 
              Let me be me 

              I have so much to say 
              Just you always look the other way 
              Please give me something to feel relief 
              Please I just need to find peace 

              Just let me say what I want to 
              Don’t be too quick to accuse 
              You don’t know what it feels like inside 
              Don’t tell me you understand my life 

              You don’t understand 
              You don’t understand what it feels like 
              You don’t understand 
              You don’t understand what it feels like 

              Please just let me be me 
              Please just let me be free 
              Please just listen to me speak.

              Stop The Bully

              You always will live on 
              No matter how far away you are 
              You are in a better place now 
              Flying with the angels in the clouds 

              I know you had so much stress 
              Just felt like it was exploding in your chest 
              You didn’t have to take your own life 
              You could of tried to make the bullying right 

              I guess all we have left is the memories 
              Never will that bring enough peace 
              You could of lived on to be 103 
              But you left your friends and family 

              I know you had so much pain 
              It always flowed through all of your veins 
              You didn’t have to take your own life 
              You could of tried to make the bullying right 

              You should have been able to be who you are 
              You were filled with so many scars 
              You weren’t ever different to me 
              You were just a boy who wanted peace 

              I’m glad you found relief 
              And that you found the peace 
              But you should of stayed here with me 
              And we could of tried to stop the bullies.

               
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              Use To Be

              I miss the way it use to be 
              When I was something more to me 
              Now I’m treated so differently 
              Whys that gotta be 
              I’ve always just been me 

              I don’t wanna cry these tears anymore 
              These fears are making me so sore 
              I really need something to believe in 
              I’m tired of being nothing to them 

              I miss the way it use to be 
              When I was something more to me 
              Now I’m treated so differently 
              Whys that gotta be 

              I’ve always just been me 

              Why can’t you all treat me equally 
              I know that’s how its gotta be 
              It doesn’t have to be destiny 
              I just wanna be more to me 

              I miss the way it use to be 
              When I was something more to me 
              Now I’m treated so differently 
              Whys that gotta be 
              I’ve always just been me 

              I don’t wanna have these scars anymore 
              Now I’m gonna be something more 
              I deserve to be happy 
              Now that’s who I am to me.

               

               
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              Submitted by a fourteen year old TYEF youth

              M2F Guuurl

              The sun continues

              To rise everymorning,

              And the moon rises,

              Everynight

              It happens without fail,

              And the stars,

              Or the clouds,

              Follow along

              It doesn't matter,

              Whether my day

              Has been great

              Or if it has been horrible

              The sun is still there

              In the morning

              And the moon

              At night

              This is my favorite constant

              For when either appears,

              I feel protected and safe,

              For those hours of day or night.


              Poems by Athena Edmonds, a published poet and mom to a beautiful transboy

              Gender’s Waiting Room

              Samantha Phippen Morgan, 
              dressed in cargo pants, hiking boots, 
              and a camo shirt. Serviceman 
              in the elevator, What a cute boy, 
              he says. Saleslady at CVS, 
              With those eyes you’ll break 
              ladies’ hearts, she says. 
              Drycleaner behind the counter, 
              Boy or girl, she asks; beautiful 
              eyelashes but boy pants confuse her. 
              Boy or girl, I ask. But you refuse 
              to answer. Instead, you bang and bang 
              your head against the counter. 

              Late at night you sit on my lap. 
              You ask me, Are my eyes beautiful? 
              They are, they are, I say. 
              And you ask me, Are my eyelashes beautiful? 
              They are, they are, I say. 
              Then I’m going to need to cut them off, you say.

              Last Dress

              Published in Sugar House Review, Winter 2011

              I jam 
              the white 
              smock dress 
              over your head. 

              Limp 
              marionette, 
              silent 
              in your dissent – 

              you crumble 
              in your father’s arms, 
              acquiescing 
              as I fasten the pearl buttons.

              Girls

              Published in January 2010 edition of Connotation Press 

              Daddies’ girls, mommies’ girls, valley girls, 
              slutty girls, and girl virgins. Lip-ringed 
              lisping girls. Girls with names of goddesses, 
              names of months, days and flowers. Girls 
              with names of jewels, fruits, and virtues. 
              Girls who rule the slide rule. Girls who can 
              battle boys in a beat on the beat on both 
              drums and guitar on Rock Band. Girls that 
              bond in bands named MalakAss. Girls that 
              sprint in the first heat of the Nationals in the 
              royal blue and white of the Greek flag. Girls 
              in flip flops in February, scuffed Uggs in 
              July. Why? Girls who sneak to the prom, 
              their prom gown in a stop&shop brown bag. 
              Freaking out both mom and dad. Girls 
              who dye their hair from Manic Panic Cotton 
              Candy Pink to Manic Panic Bad Boy Blue 
              leaving Angry Purple streaks behind on my 
              bathtub. Girls who love horses and White 
              Horse, Grey Goose and grey geese, Beefeater 
              and steak, Wild Turkey and Thanksgiving 
              break. Girls in strings under juicy sweats, 
              flying Chihuahuas in Chewy V-ton handbags. 

              I try, I do. I try to put it all behind me, to put 
              it in the past. Why must I weep and mourn my 
              fourth, when my older three should be enough? 
              I need to let it be! Her name cut in half, her 
              brush in the trash, her wiry body performs a 
              roundhouse kick in martial arts; the art of her 
              body practiced, her affect deliberate, her nature 
              scorned, her cool-dude style, by all, adored. 
              Here’s your Spyder blue jacket. Here’s your 
              robot decorated room, the pattern you chose 
              from the catalog’s boy section, your Lego 
              Jedi Starfighter and your black Nintendo. 
              Put it in your holster. 

              Everywhere you go, your disguises reek of 
              testosterone. On EBay I auctioned off your 
              sisters’ dresses — like you asked me to. In 
              the basement I dug up your sisters’ Barbies 
              and stuffed them in the trash. Along with 
              Barbie’s Mustang, Barbie’s Fashion Fever 
              Store, and her pal, Polly Pocket. Polly 
              Pocket and her Polly Mall, her Polly World, 
              her Polly Mansion. When Barbie’s Three 
              Story Townhouse didn’t fit in the three-ply 
              yard-size Hefty garbage bag I grabbed your 
              father’s hammer and smashed it against the 
              concrete floor. Then it fit. 

              It would’ve been worse if you’d ended up 
              like those other kinds of girls I know. Sour 
              girls, girls that look sweet but taste bitter, 
              girls who chew gum with their mouths 
              aghast. Girls that twizzle under pressure but 
              then burst into the scene like stars. Kit-Katty 
              girls, S & M’s, Smarties and girl Nerds. 
              Girls who snicker at boys but skittle at their 
              touch. Girls who’ve been caramelized under 
              high pressure, hardened into brittle toffee, 
              pounded into taffy, powdered by the fist 
              who when jelly in the belly, don’t let the gun 
              drop – which gets them locked up for life 
              saved behind bars. 

              I hope if I rant and vent like this, I’ll get with 
              the program. I’ve learned to see you, to talk 
              to you without your pronoun, without the tail 
              end to your name, without a role expectation. 
              I’ve learned to let you be, to advocate at your 
              school, to befriend other boys’ mothers, to pro- 
              vide ultimatums to my mother, to blackmail your 
              father’s mother, to threaten your father with 
              divorce, and to tell my sister-in-law to fuck off. 
              It’s me, love, I’ve learned to be your mother.

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