To walk down the street is a test of my womanhood.
Onlookers keep on looking.
I am beleaguered with looks of assessment.
I am the vanishing point that engulfs the eyes of the cityscape,
A positive magnet to the negative gaze of pedestrians.
I do not want to be seen as an attraction.
My friends gifted with natal womanhood are not trialed so.
Their gender is not battered with interrogation.
Their womanhood is believed.
But when they walk down the street, they receive a different brand of maltreatment:
Looks from the aroused, degenerate men who have
No sift to separate the sand from the sexuality,
The minerals from the misogyny.
These women walk the streets with the risk of men forcing both their bodies and their words upon them.
So why do I walk on Hollywood Boulevard,
Silently hoping that maybe this day will be the day I get my first catcall?
Why do I dream of being pestered by unwanted suitors
Rather than making like Penelope and turning a shoulder on them all as I wait for my Odysseus?
Why do I, conscious of the sheer filth of this sexual harassment,
Yearn for something that so many women wish to purge from their lives?
When my self-confidence is at its nadir,
I subconsciously seek for its restoration to be brought unto me by the scum of the Earth,
The plague of female livelihood.
And even from them, I get nothing.
Instead of recognizing the beautiful woman in the mirror,
I search for the validity of my womanhood within the words of a womanizer.
No wonder my womanhood isn’t believed.
Ava Dadvand is a sixteen year old transgender high school student from Los Angeles. Her interests include playing the bass, singing in choir, and studying mathematics. She practices poetry with the L.A. based nonprofit Get Lit — Words Ignite.