Tag Archives: Identity

Gender Identity

Athena Malta

English 11

What does it feel like to be transgender?



In the TED Talk spoken word “What it feels like to be transgender” by Lee Mokobe, (Lee) the author is talking about his experience of being a transgender man. The poem talks about him feeling out of place while praying in church. He says, “I asked Jesus to fix me, and when he did not answer I befriended silence in hopes that my sin would burn.” Lee feels shameful. He feels as if he is sinning in the Christian church; like he doesn’t belong. He was a tomboy who “…had snapback, toothless grin [and] used skinned knees as street cred”. “when I turned 12, the boy phase wasn’t deemed cute anymore. It was meant with nostalgic aunts… who reminded me that my kind of attitude would never bring a husband home, that I existed for heterosexual marriage and child-bearing”. The stereotypes and expectations of women that he didn’t want to live up to. At school kids already knew, and when he wasn’t ready, they opened the closet for him; calling him “’lesbian.’”  Although that didn’t feel quite right either; he “was more boy than girl”. He didn’t hate his body; it just didn’t feel quite right. Being transgender is scary; his mother thinks “that I’ll die without a whisper, that I am a walking casket”. Being transgender feels as if you’re a spectacle, being looked at constantly; like “[you’re] the best attraction” in the exhibit. The suicide rate for transgender kids and adults keeps going up. Parents are scared for their kids. At the end of the poem he mentions “maybe I just don’t care”. I think he’s finally saying that he is now comfortable the way that he is, and that he has come to the point where other people’s opinions can’t bother him as much anymore. He has become content with himself, and in the end that’s the most important. One who is transgender may feel out of place, and feel like they don’t belong, but once one finds the right group of people they can become comfortable with themselves.


Works Cited

Lee, Mokobe. What it feels like to be transgender. May 2015. 12 March 2018.