In the Name of Freedom of Speech

In the Name of Freedom of Speech


What kind of jokes does one make at open mic comedy night?

Unintelligent ones.

Offensive jokes buy cheap laughs.

She is far from perfect, but imperfection does not excuse

Your transmisogyny when you dead-name Caitlyn Jenner

For cheap laughs

 

No one ever asked me how it felt,

But for the past eight months,

I have felt it in my neck,

In the small of my back

I have felt it every time I drive past

The Golden China Restaurant

On Seaward Avenue

Where it stands, unchanged

 

The security cameras are probably not working,

Even after what happened

 

No one asked me how it felt

But I could not sit there in silence

With my skin aflame and my heart heavy

As transphobia oozed out of the mouth

Of the pillsbury dough boy on stage

 

“That’s not funny!”

 

The responses from the other members of the audience

Were as unintelligent as the joke

They shouted names in my direction,

Names that I do not own:

Lesbian, Dyke, Feminazi

Slurs uttered from the mouths of the masses do not shake me, no

What shook me was the man in blue, slurring his words as he said:

“The lesbians don’t like your joke.”

My cheeks must have been flushed red,

Because I felt as if his words had set me on fire

I sat there, shaking like a sapling in the storm of hate

That raged around me,

I vowed I would not let them forget

I don’t think anyone did

 

The last thing I wanted to do was get on stage

And face the monsters calling themselves comedians

But I did, though I don’t know how.

I am neither imposing, nor intimidating,

And with shaking legs and a thumping heart,

I clutched the microphone and said:

 

“So I’m transgender,

And that’s it, that’s the joke,

Because I could just stand up here and not say a word,

And I could count on you all to laugh, right?

Because apparently

My life, my pain, my struggles

Are a joke to you people.”

 

But my words were drowned out by the drunk man in blue

I could not hear myself as he roared,

The cowardly lion was throwing a fit

Walking towards the stage, where I stood,

My bravery had left me gripping the microphone

Like a life preserver in the deep end of the pool

I could not hear his words, and I probably did not need to

 

No one asked me how it felt

To leave the restaurant that night

To walk past the man in blue,

Surrounded by those who had laughed

At the Caitlyn Jenner joke

 

We stood by a black Porsche in the parking lot,

My friends reassured me that everything would be okay,

That pillsbury dough boy was stupid, and it didn’t matter what he said

My attention was torn from the conversation by the crowd

As they chased off the man in blue,

Calling him a racist motherfucker

And when I realized that it was the black Porsche he was headed for,

I said to my friends:

 

“We need to move.”

 

Not one of them ever fucking asked me how it felt

When the metal body of that black Porsche hit me three god damn times.

It hit me once, my screams echoed into the night

It hit me twice, I closed my eyes in hopes that when they opened it would be over

I did not cry, I couldn’t, all I could do was scream

And then I was hit for the third time

After I fell to ground, after the black Porsche was long gone,

After my throat was raw from screaming,

I sat on the asphalt, rocking back and forth

The witnesses surrounded me, but I could not hear their words

Until my friend yelled at pillsbury dough boy:

“See, this is what happens! This is what hate looks like!”

Poor, confused pillsbury dough boy,

He uttered some unintelligent nonsense in his defense,

And that was when something in me snapped,

With the last of my voice I screamed at him:

“I’m fucking trans!”

No one ever asked me how it felt…

It hurt.

In this poem I recount a traumatic event in my life that very much had to do with communication. Comedy is one method of communication that seems to be a free-for-all, and through this poem and retelling of a traumatic experience that came about in relation to a comedy show, I hope to convey that it is of utmost importance that when people choose to communicate to a larger audience, what and how you communicate is critical and could make an enormous impact on those around you.

1 comment

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  1. 1
    Constance McClain

    Hi Kaiden,I wish I had been in the audience thar day. I hope I would have had the depth of compassion to see what you wanted, not much. A little human to human communication. I appreciated reading your piost here.
    Thank you.

    I am more conscious now,
    Constance McClain

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