(I wrote this to honor Pride and my own gender identity. It’s not something I talk about in my business a lot, but I think that queer business owners like myself are not as visible as maybe other business owners. I hope in some small ways this helps others feel better about sharing their stories.)

It came in whispers, in stolen thoughts
I looked up and realized
It was okay not to confine myself
In the restrictive “F” or “M” box —
It awakened a call to live differently.

I’ve started on this path,
I navigate these uncharted seas
I push away the approval of others
As I learn to express
My gender nonconformity.

It doesn’t make me less valid
If I don’t change my body
To fit into the limiting boxes
That prescribe mandatory masculinity.

I resist your expectations
I refuse to play pretend– 
Or swallow down my shame and hurt
Just to make you comfortable
I will no longer give into pressure or anxiety.

It’s not about pink or blue
Or if I decide to shave
Whether I put on makeup
And it’s not just a phase
No one gets to dictate my identity

Let me ask you,
Why do you need to know
What contrived side I pick or
What’s in between my legs
To know how to treat me?

It’s not how I dress
Or how I style my hair
It’s not a plea for attention
It’s inconsequential
Whether or not you agree.

Who I am is not just a phase
No more “shoulds,” No more cages
Just loving and accepting myself
Despite the pull of social gravity.

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