Not a Phase, Not a label

Mihika Kumar

For months on end I have encountered a battle, one with myself,
A never ending conflict that I still fight to date.
I could call it an identity crisis that isn’t yet solved,
But don’t misunderstand- it is not a problem at any rate.

It is not a puzzle for anybody else to crack,
This is my mystery to which I seek to find the key.
And even if I don’t stumble upon the answers to my many questions,
I am still me- I am not a wannabe.

The battle is more like secret warfare- the world is unaware of it,
So how can the world tell me about the events of the war?
The internalised struggle I face is known only to me,
So how can the world tell me what lies in store?

I haven’t dyed my hair- but is that going to tell you who I am?
I don’t wear flannels everyday- but would that take away from who I love?
I wear jeans that are not cuffed- but will that tell you my story?
I put on rings quite often nowadays- but is that enough to define me?

I may choose to resonate with a certain label,
But the expansions of the label are so abstract.
That label does not mean that who I am in set in stone,
It does not mean that I follow a rulebook on how to act. 

 

So do not tell me in utter shock that I “don’t look” the way you envision these labels,
Do not tell me that I don’t know “how to pick a side”,
Do not tell me that I can be only butch or only femme,
Do not tell me that I don’t fit the criteria to celebrate pride.

 

My community receives thousands of comments,
Comments on how they speak, dress and behave.
We face enough conflict with ourselves,
But our identities don’t confine us to one cave.

Someone who identifies as gay does not have to be effeminate,
Further, do away with the false checklist of love for theatre and makeup trends.
Someone who identifies as lesbian does not have to have a “masculine aura”,
And no, they are not in love with all their friends.

Not all transgender men are gay,
Not all transgender women are drag queens.
We are tired of hearing your criteria to our own identities,
As if there are only extremes with no in betweens.

 

Hundreds and thousands of misconceptions about the LGBTQIA+ family,
That cast a shadow upon us in what already seems like eternal darkness.
So I ask you, please never take away someone’s identity,
Because your ideas of who we are is a complete mess.

Only I hold the power to decide who I am,
Do not tell me that “”it is just a phase”.
I am more than a label, more than your misconceptions,
I hope you can make it easier for me to get out of this maze. 

Just because you’re queer, you shouldn’t have to live your life in fear.
Just because you’re unsure of your gender, doesn’t mean you are a pretender.
Just because you feel some attraction, you shouldn’t be treated with a lack of compassion.
Just because you choose a flag, you don’t have to confine yourself to just one tag.

Happy Pride :-)