“Side Street Mona Lisa”: A Pride Month Poem

Greetings from Justicea! 

We are now midway through Pride Month 2021, and as it is Wednesday, it’s time for me to post the latest in a series of five original Alphabet Communities-inspired poems that I am sharing with you this June.

The first two poems were autobiographical, addressing my own experience with Gender Identity Dysphoria — the discomforting anxiety those of us on the transgender spectrum feel when the brain and the bulk of our physical bodies seem out-of-sync. (If you missed these poems, see the June 2 and 9 posts.)

This week’s Poem Share, while still on the transgender theme, is different. It is a tribute to our transgender sisters.

First, the poem. Commentary follows.

Poem: “Side Street Mona Lisa”
(To Our Transgender Ladies)

Strolling down the Rue de la Vie,2
I noticed a side street gallery
where Mona Lisa, without shame,
held court enthroned in a plastic frame.

While critics spat their indignation
at such a “vile” presentation,
I just returned a jocund grin
to the subtle Masterpiece housed within.

© Justin DeForest 2012
(Male Gender Identity of Justy DeForest)

Violence Faced by Transgender Wennen

Many of us — whether cisgender, bigender, transgender, pangender, or agender; whether heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, or asexual — find ourselves struggling to be our true selves when confronted by the expectations of the Petrified Society — a segment of the population that sometimes includes our own family. No group, however, has a harder time of it with this segment of the population than do our transgender wennen. Of all members of the Alphabet Communities, trans wenns—especially if African-American—are at the greatest risk of having lethal violence enacted against them.

The Human Rights Campaign reports that of the 28 known fatal attacks against transgender and gender non-conforming people so far in 2021 in which transphobia is expected of having played a part, 16 of these deadly assaults were committed against black transgender wenns.1 On the HRC webpage, you can read about the conditions that put this segment of the Alphabet Communities more at risk. The link is included under the Citations heading below.

Three Societies: Petrified, Progressive, and Perplexed

It is true that society never changes fast enough for those who experience injustice. However, I choose to think that there are three types of societies concurrently at work in this world rather than one monolithic society that moves at a glacial pace. The first type is the Traditional Society that adheres to ancient prejudices frozen in time. Its members are as iceberg that refuse to melt. This is the group that often comes to mind when someone says, “Society.” The second type is the Progressive Society, whose temperate members warmly welcome change. The third is the Perplexed Society, whose members inhabit that region between the artic and temperate zones. With patience, time, and familiarity, some of its members may warm up on an issue and migrate to the warmer clime.  

We of the Alphabet Communities, along with our allies, must continue the work of identifying members of those societies open to change. Then reach out to the reachable and persuade the persuadable.

Celebrating Transgender Wenns

During Pride Month, however, I don’t want to dwell on the challenges and threats that face Transgender Wennen. Rather, I wish to praise these courageous wenns for their strength, their tenacity, and their endurance in continuing to fight the good fight in finding ways to be their authentic selves.

A Message to My Transgender Sisters

My Transgender Sisters, I have met many of you throughout the years. You are caring, gentle people. Each of you is a humin masterpiece, and the world is a better place for your being in it. Keep hoping; keep dreaming; keep living and loving! And may you stay safe.

Next Wednesday’s Poem Share 4:

Worldwide Pride

I will have another original Alphabet Communities poem to share with you next Wednesday when I will address the joys of the Gender-gifted experience!

Until next time…

Peace & Siblinghood,

Justy DeForest,
GFJ Blogger


1. “Fatal Violence Against the Transgender and Non-Gender Conforming Community in 2021.” The Human Rights Campaign website, https://www.hrc.org/resources/fatal-violence-against-the-transgender-and-gender-non-conforming-community-in-2021

2. French for “Street of Life.”


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