Gender is Poetry

Society, for the longest of time, has made gender look like a tattoo inked on an individual’s mouth, not allowing them to express themselves. It’s like a spectrum, wide enough for all of society to leave its own mark. But it’s only the birth of a person like me who questions the roots we were chained with; those like me who fall outside this semblance picture of gender and its ways.

I come from a place where my skin accepts pink and not red, where my sky accepts rainbow and not grey, where I dance with my heels on and not the sports shoe. I play in that garden where flowers yearn to bloom without the storm battering them. My mother tells me flowers are feminine, that the gardens where the tulsi blooms with roses are different, but my mind scoffs as I put the flowers on my palm – so what if they are?

I embrace my body in a way where I am not the man people usually see me as, that my hips move in a feminine way. Masculinity, for me, has been like a bullet trapped in my throat that constantly prods me to gulp my femininity. I feel comfortable in my skin, but the bullet keeps reminding me of a child who was stopped from touching mehendi because of the line dividing what people term as “gender”.

I used to think my gender is a box and I will have to live in it, with a tape around my body that says, ‘behave like a man’. But no, I am enjoying the garden, I am blooming my own gender. Gender is a poem, you see, and I’m writing pages every day, with every expression, with every non-conformity. Because poems are a river of emotions flowing through the gut of someone’s skin but distinctively. Gender is a poem and mine keeps changing with every line. Some days with a twirl of a skirt and some days while I navigate my breath between the bushes of my moustache. I keep this poem in my veins and I don’t want to forget how it makes me dance in the garden of vivid expressions.

Also read: ‘There’s a Thing Called Being Gay?’

I wear gender as an answer to society, the answer to the kids trapped in their own boxes, like water cutting through the pebbles, expressing myself as I choose to. Gender is a poem and I have met many who do not understand mine, given only a few lines at a time, small bites for them to adjust to, but I no longer strip all that remains away for them, not anymore. Because I am reborn every time I am pushed into that box, I rewrite this poem every time a man pulls up pants and not a skirt.

I live in this society where poetry isn’t on people’s lips, that it doesn’t give an individual security because for them poetry is not economical, but a momentary gateway to be amazed. It’s the same with gender – how it is just evolving because of influence and not how it is empowering. For them, gender exists to distinguish and not to express beyond that. Perhaps it is not a poem for them, perhaps it is just a loud noise for them to be ignorant in a room where men like me are stifled for their expression. So this is nothing but an elegy of a queer person who chooses to see rainbows surrounding him like wings.

I have found the poetry in this, finally, the freedom in letting it out. Because I know whenever a queer person takes birth in the roots of ascendant heteronormative society, he will break the chains, go beyond the clouds, to find his rainbow, to bloom flowers on the hands of other barren lands. A queer person writes history, not just of his suffocation around gender boxes but goes beyond writing a revolution, long shut by cultural manipulation. For a queer person, gender is poetry, plucked in his hoardings, shouting for it to be read out loud.

Harshit Jalan is a 21-year-old Journalism student, who writes poems and articles on gender and queer representation. You can find Harshit on Instagram @harshitbreathingpoetry__

Featured image credit: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay