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by Boyd Bauman

Agender, Bigender, Cisgender: the new ABCs.

Gender fluid, Gender non-conforming,

Gender questioning, Genderqueer,

Misgender, Transgender, Transexual, Non-binary...

Even with Google close at hand,

I can't keep the terms straight

(Forgive me my old school modifier.)

Image of a brink wall with pictures of different colour eyes pasted to the wall.
Image credit: Fabian Bächli on Unsplash

Do I identify with the gender to which I was born?

Yes. Equivocally: I've never lusted after a Glock

nor to dropkick a cat,

and I've met few who describe poetry

as a purely masculine endeavor.

It seems I'm half female

on my mother's side.

Native Americans celebrated

the arrival of a Two-spirit,

a being (beings?) seen as endowed

with curative and spiritual powers.

Whitman contained multitudes.

So there was always nomenclature,

even in the tiny Midwestern town of my youth,

in those rare moments someone spoke

on such subjects:

Cousin Dwayne’s friend visited weekends.

Two ladies down the street kept to themselves,

partners in at least their landscaping business.

The music teacher left his wife and moved

to the city for a change in lifestyle.

Old Farmer Jameson died

with his longtime companion by his side.

My childish brain couldn't grasp

exactly what those terms meant, either,

but I could tell by the tone

of those fluid enough in their thinking

that all were free to live their own lives,

that we were called to love everyone

by the same name.


Black and white image of author, Boyd Bauman.
Boyd Bauman

Boyd Bauman grew up on a small ranch near Bern, Kansas, his dad the storyteller, mom the family scribe. His books of poetry are Cleave and Scheherazade Plays the Chestnut Tree Café. After stints in New York, Colorado, Alaska, Japan, and Vietnam, Boyd writes in Kansas City. Visit at

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