A Person

A stereotype is what I have been
since the words I like men left my mouth.
At thirteen a single confession slipped from my mouth,
parents who loved me said I couldn’t be the person that I am,
so I smiled and said okay.

I am supposed to be a lady-boy with an empty head,
a brain filled with nothing but gossip and boy talk—
I have loved other men, I must be a slut!
Every man I see I am instantly attracted to,
every man who wants to fuck me has that right,
because people believe I am a stereotype.

Words are shot at me like rapid arrows—
slut, fag, bitch—they hit and crawl under my skin
having me believe words define who I am;
never let them see you bleed, words I was taught to live by.

I have kissed a man before, so therefore I must be feminine:
a pretty boy presenting pretty feathers like a peacock,
shopping must be part of my daily routine,
being vain is a must, a lover to all men.
Cannot steer outside the norm society has bestowed upon me,
I’m not allowed to be a person.

The left says great you like men, now be a lady-boy,
the right says it’s unnatural, and they keep us in our “place”—
neither side wants to see a person standing in front of them.

a foreign concept to men like me.
Nothing more than labels,
letting the world know, that they’re nothing more than a sexuality
instead of a people.

They tell me I must be like them—
part of a community that rings no truth with me—
to find hope and courage with a rainbow on a flag.
Fuck the rainbow and its pri(son)mic colors,
my love for another man makes me but one thing:
a person.

Writer: Ethan Dougan is the author of two poems, “A Person and “Stitches Over My Mouth.” These two poems are about his life and who he is as a person. His inspiration for “A Person” was simply him just venting his frustrations with today’s modern society and the overwhelming pressure of conformity, while “Stitches Over My Mouth” was a traumatic event in his life that he thought he could heal and overcome by sharing it.

Artist: Elizabeth Salgado is an Art major at Fullerton College and will be transferring this fall to Cal State Fullerton to pursue a BFA in Entertainment Arts/Animation.