Today, and always, we recognise and celebrate our transgender, nonbinary, and gender-non conforming community. International Transgender Day of Visibility was created in 2009 by transgender activist Rachel Crandall, and serves as a moment to reflect on the issues faced by transgender people today. We wanted to take the opportunity to highlight a prominent artist and reached out to the phenomenal poet, Chloe AyoDeji Filani, to write a piece for the day.
My mother knew I’d be a daughter?
I don’t remember what it was to be a
That’s cause she never was.
Constantly curious of the way ppl born with vulvas grew
Constantly growing through trauma and playfulness
Constantly told I can’t do be can’t not allowed gotta do can’t could never.
Playing with the other girls
This play is common
The gender Variant child
That’s not a boy it’s a girl child
Elderly women always called me beautiful.
I thought that was strange as it was reserved for girls boys was called handsome
I love being called beautiful
You got more sweets
With a smile.
After some years this no longer worked in my favour
Bitter sweets treats girls side boys side let me go on the side I want.
No feels like a punch slap of forever ongoing trauma of you’ll never be she
But I always was sweet
Beautiful Negro child
Sparkles from cheek to cheek
Still curious y my body never twisted and turn grew bumps on my chest and the hidden secrets and whispers of monthly blood
My mother knew a sentence she said when I was 3,
yes third year on this spinning rock
‘You can stop being the girl’
Wait, pause and again
‘You can stop being gal sha’
‘You ave sister on da way’
I’m grieving the babygal that couldn’t be
You’ll find yourself
I’m loving on
By Chloe AyoDeji Filani
Chloe is an artist of poetry, performance, Black Feminism, public Speaker and workshop facilitator. Her artistic practise/poetry works with her lived experience of being a Black trans woman and broader themes of identity of power structures and finding hope imagining fantasy and storytelling.