Poetry Outlet

Standing Up for Identity

By Nova Janes

As the fight to preserve equal rights and protections continues, I worry for myself and my family.  While President Obama issued an order prohibiting federal contract holders from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, making it illegal for federal government employees to be discriminated against because they are LGBT, the “religious freedom” order argues that religious beliefs are enough to decline goods and services to members of the LGBTQ community.  The crushing situation, with new wounds every week is starting to take its toll.  So, today, I want to talk about how this affects me personally, my family and my friends.

The LGBTQ community has been part of my life for years.  Growing up with a family member who first came out to me at 12 years old as lesbian, then officially at 16 to the rest of the family, has taught me to trust who they are and what they want to become.  Sometimes it can be difficult to accept the reality they are going through is the reality we should support.  Now my new brother has come out to us as transgender and has been on testosterone for over a year.  The changes are significant and nothing sort of magical.  Truly, science is magic.  My brother said to me that for those who come out, that is the hardest moment of their lives; but that he has come out, then come out again as an entirely new person has been nothing short of traumatizing coupled with empowerment.  Because now he is working towards a synonymous existence with his inner self and what birth had given him.


Now he’s faced with the decision to give up the possibility of having kids of his own because the cost of harvesting eggs, compared to the pain of living with his uterus any longer, is unbearable.  It will take $10,000 for the procedure to freeze and preserve his future genesis.  Insurance covers nothing to do with his fertility issues.  Add on to that the cost of all the surgeries to change his sex to match his preferred gender.  My brother will be in debt for wanting to live his life.  On top of all this, I am concerned (understatement) that my brother’s dream of becoming a member of law enforcement some day will never happen either, because the protections that allow him to exist as the human he wants to be are under fire.


This week I wanted to feature a poem by my brother, to help show the struggle and the process of coming to terms with an identity that he and many have struggled to find their entire lives.






Truly, there’s no way to explain

how I feel on the inside

It leaves me feeling surreal.

Yes, on my birth certificate

it states that a girl had been born.

Growing up I never quite understood

why I felt so torn


between wanting to play

with the boys on my old street,

being forced to play with dolls,

wear dresses, and doing girly things.

The confusion I felt growing up

led me down a dark path.

Unstable, I fell

into addiction’s dangerous wrath.


As a lesbian, I identified in my teenage years.

But that didn’t cut it, I felt even more insecure.

It wasn’t until I moved to Vegas

that I finally found who I am.


I am a Transman.


and always have been.

I feel peace in finally being able to understand.

My outsides don’t match my insides,

I should have been born a boy you see,

but through all the struggle,

I did it to find and become the man I was meant to be.


By Sydney Hoffman




I hope to truly be an ally of the transgender community.  There are others out there struggling alongside my brother.  His poem above, the journey to where he is now, is loud and proud and I love it.  Every bit of it screams with Syd’s personality.


Become an ally: http://www.glaad.org/transgender/allies

This article was originally published on February 9, 2017.