since stonewall
i remember the day 
they triumphantly said
“it’s okay to be gay in massachusetts” 
my then-girlfriend and i were sitting
in our high school’s gsa, 
fingers flitting along forearms 
before lips gripped each other,
fists zipped together 
like this was a catalyst
over the years, i saw it grow 
from a stuttering start, 
states overtaken by gay men and women
getting married and raising children 
and i thought at last, we’re free
to express individuality through our sexuality
and we won’t be constrained by society’s 
draconian definition of “man” or “woman” 
but i was wrong.
things haven’t changed.
it’s been the same since stonewall:
“forget compton and marsha p. johnson,
let’s talk again about matthew shepard
and teena brandon (or was it brandon teena)”
i hear them chitter as they iron their lives 
like white linen sheets,
comparing their status in north carolina 
to two Loving people 
while ignoring that some kids with skittles 
still can’t walk home alone after fifty years
they run out of the cities, into the suburbs
and bring in mail-order babies
to bake sales run by the oppressors,
anything to assimilate 
even if it means cutting off their roots,
those who fought first and fiercest
i watch the news and stew
over how they skew the lives of vibrant women: 
“a transsexual died in a fire last night
she was curvy, flirty and often
invited men up into her room
oooh, what a floozy”
excuse me
i didn’t know that 
what a dead woman chose 
to do with her body
is any of your business
a year ago, this wouldn’t matter to me
i wouldn’t be yelling “free cece”
or mourning brandy and deoni;
i’d probably be watching ellen, 
or listening to neil patrick harris
try to tell paige clay that it gets better
a few months before they get her
and put a bullet in her brain.
i was blind, back before i bound
every time i had the chance
and chopped my hair to my ears,
before i finally felt
like a real person:
i am filled with fuel 
and a dual spirit that they cannot 
drain from me.