Nik Buhler

Answers to Your Questions About Transgender People, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression

-in response to an article of the same name published by the APA


What is it like

to be transgender?


I am tired of being

the umbrella in the room.

My tongue is not your glossary.

Textbook teeth

pulled from my mouth

but you cannot read.


Rocky Horror uses the word transvestite

why can’t I?



I am not a drag

king or otherwise.

You cannot call me Queer



when you have not been afforded

my name.


Well, you’re either a boy or a girl.

You can’t be neither.


I am bound

by elastic wrapped ribs.

I disappear my breasts

when I know the world does not believe

in magic or women

who don’t want to be

your sister,

your girlfriend,

your housewife.


Are you sure

you’re not just a tomboy?


I will not be transgendered


to titles assigned at birth,

damned for tongue

tracing clit.

I do not play in the mud

by choice.


Are you ever afraid,

afraid to die?



What Should Parents Do If Their Child Appears to be Transgender or Gender Nonconforming?

“Parents may be concerned about a child who appears to be gender-nonconforming for a variety of reasons…when what they believe to be a ‘phase’ does not pass.” —American Psychological Association


peaches in our home

begin to rot         drain flies

swarm        plastic lilies

wilt         I wretch at the taste

of mother’s perfume          in the air

dressing me in sheets

strawberry baby shit

pink       I am stuffed

in shoe boxes

Steve Madden heels

a prom dress wasted

I want the tux          I want

to french tuck         I want to be

a person

not your daughter

I want shoulders like walls          a mirror

image of gruff face        X

under sex      instead

of a split cheek crocodile

smile       when you purposely misspeak

my name

Schick teeth      ready

to shave my legs        smooth

me over

so you don’t have to wonder

what to do         if

I become something pitted

something new



Nik Buhler is a writer and undergraduate student at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *