This is a Poem for the Military Bros Who Fuck Me
By Sav Schlauderaff
August 19, 2018
This week I wanted to take the timespace to revisit the first slam poem I performed live.
Slam Poetry has long been very close to my heart as a source of healing, and my students and interns will all tell you, has been a central part of my teaching.
That it helped me get through the hell years of my undergrad, with me crying in my room watching any Button Poetry videos on repeat.
Me performing a poem live was a goal I tentatively set for myself this past year, because I have not performed ANYTHING creative live since high school and all through my undergraduate years public speaking had truly gotten the best of me. I was terrified to present and speak in front of classes.
So when SlamDiego had advertised they were looking for a non-binary team to compete for “Battle of the Genders” I instinctively DM’d them and pushed together a group of my other non-binary/genderqueer/agender pals.
But beyond revisiting my first performed slam poem, I think in many ways I wanted to revisit its content. About the military bros/hyper-masculine men who want to fuck me. But also my anger at how my body is perceived, how my gender is always mis-read, how I feel uncomfortable in “woman” spaces--yet this is my field academically, how I can feel people getting uncomfortable when I talk about my transnesss--how they try to locate it on me.
And how my body doesn’t comply. Doesn’t fit into a femme or masc box. Doesn’t follow the narrative.
Therefore, while this poem addresses cis men, it is also for cis women who aren’t addressing their privileges. And for the cis women who had hurt me this past year. Who had sexually assaulted me, or erased my voice, or diminished the importance of my opinion in class. How cis women still benefit and use patriarchy against trans people.
This is a poem about the exhaustive nature of dating or having sex as a trans person. About how sex became physically and emotionally painful for me this past year. How I learned that I couldn’t handle “gendered” parts of my body being touched.
About my hurt. About how past partners had hurt me physically, sexually, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. How coming out felt like reclaiming myself. About getting to finally know myself, meet myself.
So here is “This is a poem for all the military bros who fuck me”
This is a poem for all the military bros who fuck me
For all the hyper-masculine bodies that have invaded my existence since moving here.
For all the “you look so interesting”s and the endless mansplaining about what “queer” in my bio REALLY means.
To the creepy proposed threesomes. But, quick side-note, your girlfriends are always hot so like can we just make that happen?
This is for those military bros.
The ones who fuck me in private, who would never introduce me to their friends or co-workers—lest my pronouns or appearance leave the slightest mark of queerness on their imperialistic bodies.
The same men who cry in my arms, tell me how comfortable I make them feel, tell me that I’m SUCH a great listener.
How beautiful I am.
Briefly whisper to me that they’ve never told anyone about their queer sexual desires.
You see, my trans body is like a one of those foam pits. A safe place for them to act out their queer desires, yet one they are sure to exit before panicking and getting sucked in.
My incorrect embodiment of womanhood through my flat chest, bald head and hairy armpits is saved by the presence of a vagina—there are no dangerous phalluses here.
Or perhaps, it is saved by my emotional labor? Because my body is still incorrectly labelled “feminine.” Still forced to do “womanly” things. So can I please check in with those TERFs about when my male privilege is coming in? Have I betrayed my gender quite yet?
This is for those military bros trapped within toxic masculinity.
Those who haven’t yet learned the value of emotional work and friendship. Those who don’t feel safe to step outside of compulsory heteronormativity.
Because, sure, I can hold space for you, but when will cis men step up and hold space for each other? And when will we finally uncouple emotional labor from feminized bodies?
Dear Cis men: when was the last time you checked in with your friends? When was the last time you were vulnerable? When was the last time you cried with your cis male friends?
Dear Cis men: follow-up question, when was the last time you expected as this from feminized folks in your life? When was the last time you thanked them?
Dear Cis men: Like, you don’t need to fuck me to talk to me.
This is for those military bros that LOVE my trans body.
And I assure you, these experiences are not abnormal. Trans bodies have always been secret desires, and desired objects.
And I do mean objects. We are yet to be seen as subjects or something to be proud of. Someone to be proud of.
Can we revisit that toxic masculinity when discussing these desires?
How this uncovered desire all too often ends in violence?
That I only have to look at the most recent shitty bro movie to see a cis man vomiting on screen after “finding out” he had sex with a trans person? That I only have to look online to see cis people announcing that they would never ever ever fuck a trans person? That I only have to turn on any media device to hear “jokes” about murdering trans people?
Now can we hold space for those murdered just this year: Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, Viccky Gutierrez, Zakaria Fry, Celine Walker, Tonya Harvey, Phylicia Mitchell, Amia Tyrae Berryman, Sasha Wall, Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon. That these are only murders that have been reported. That these are only within the United States.
Let us remember how this disproportionately impacts trans femme bodies, trans women of color, trans black and indigenous women, trans sex workers, disabled trans folks, homeless trans folks. How privilege still protects many of us.
Dear Cis men: when will I be valuable enough to not be a secret? When will my gender stop being perceived as a threat?