Ari Benor, age 13
This poem, written during a WriteGirl poetry workshop, is about how I found my place in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Questions, or Answers?
A straight girl.
It was an identity, a thing of pride, almost. But then it hit me — what if I like girls too?
A gay girl.
It was my identity, a thing of pride, even though it was a secret thing of pride. But then it hit me — what if I’m not a girl?
Wrapped into a cocoon with my blanket on the couch, looking up terms and labels and genders and identities.
What if I’m not a girl and not a boy but I still like girls? What’s that called? What if I’m neither and both? What if one day this fits and the next it doesn’t?
I am a stream, flowing from puddle to puddle. I am fluid. I am a bird. Never staying in one place. Always moving, flapping, landing, flying. What is that called?
Nonbinary? Agender? Girl? It switches every day. How do I make sense of this cluster-clump that is me?
Gender stresses me out. I think I’ll take a break for now.
Taking stock of who I am and who I like. Girls, genderqueer people, everyone in between. Biromantic?
Do I have to keep thinking about this? Doing research everyday? Yesterday it was they/them. Three days ago was she/her. Two days ago it was no pronouns. Today, nothing feels right. What even is “right?”
Taking stock of who I like. Girls, boys, everyone in between. I don’t prefer any. Panromantic? Omniromantic?
I am a stream, flowing from puddle to puddle. I am fluid. I am a bird. Never staying in one place. Always moving, flapping, landing, flying. What is that called? Genderfluid?
Everything is a question. I am a question. Who isn’t a question?
Genderfae panromantic. Why did I spend so long thinking about that? It has nothing to do with my personality. Those thoughts swirling in my head like murky water. It’s been answered. So why am I still so different? I wonder if anyone else has these rolling questions.
The people in my grade all seem to fit into these stereotypes, categories. Girl or Boy. Straight. Neurotypical. Where’s the “other” button?
Two other people, a group, welcome a new member, me. Together we form the “other” button. All other twenty-four people in my grade are roped into Girl or Boy, Straight, Neurotypical. No room for questions. But we three, we are the questions.
We make room for a fourth, who opened up about their questioning. Now we have a group. To talk freely, to be in a corner together instead of alone. To have someone to talk to during recess instead of reading and drawing. We can not belong, together, and laugh about it without being laughed at.
Questions, or answers?