The Perfect Queer Poem: When You Don’t Feel The Need to Explain Anything to the Straights

It’s June, it’s June, we’re living, it’s June. Do you feel our powers rising with the heat, our stares lengthening with the daylight, our desires coming on like freak lightening?

One of the many ways that we have been blessed by the goddess is our gift of second sight, our queer clairvoyance. We can see things others can’t, and we have the power to point it out and make it so: GAY. For centuries, the arbitrary power to name has belonged to the straights, but now we are the ones who declare that our nonsense is law. We could give our reasons, and we do have them, but honey, it’s June — gay rights! Iced Coffee? The queer beverage of choice. Telling time? Homophobic. Ocean’s 8? Powerful all-lesbian cast. Bruce Springsteen? Butch icon. Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You? Transmasc who can’t be seen at Club Skunk. The planet Jupiter? Trans ally. And the moon? The moon, darlings, is trans:

The Moon is Trans

The moon is trans.
From this moment forward, the moon is trans.
You don’t get to write about the moon anymore unless you respect that.
You don’t get to talk to the moon anymore unless you use her correct pronouns.
You don’t get to send men to the moon anymore unless their job is
to bow down before her and apologize for the sins of the earth.
She is waiting for you, pulling at you softly,
telling you to shut the fuck up already please.
Scientists theorize the moon was once a part of the earth
that broke off when another planet struck it.
Eve came from Adam’s rib.
Do you believe in the power of not listening
to the inside of your own head?
I believe in the power of you not listening
to the inside of your own head.
This is all upside down.
We should be talking about the ways that blood
is similar to the part of outer space between the earth and the moon
but we’re busy drawing it instead.
The moon is often described as dead, though she is very much alive.
The moon has not known the feeling of not wanting to be dead
for any extended period of time
in all of her existence, but
she is not delicate and she is not weak.
She is constantly moving away from you the only way she can.
She never turns her face from you because of what you might do.
She will outlive everything you know.

Poet J. Jennifer Espinoza is not making an argument for why the moon is trans. The moon is trans, and she is letting us know so we can say, ah yes, the moon is trans. Men once went to the moon, and the fact that this summer is the 50th anniversary of a man leaving a flag on her face — during Cancer season, no less  —  is a sin no amount of palo santo during a super blood wolf moon will clear away. The moon is feminist art, but please, do not say the moon is “female.”

The moon is trans because, as Espinoza points out, the moon is trans. She does so in declarative sentences that slowly break up as the emotion breaks through, as if her strong feeling that the moon is trans has slowly given way, like a tide, to the moon’s own emotion at finally being seen. Like when you know you are about to cry and the feel the tide break behind your eyes and there’s no hiding. Or like blood from a cut surfacing slowly, and then running down your leg. Do not say that these fluids are what makes you a woman unless you mean that blood and tears are governed by the moon, which is trans.

The address of “you” in this poem is almost a counter-apostrophe, meant to ward off the straights rather than to call them near. After the poem pulls feelings to the surface, it uses these feelings to scare the straights straight away, to demand that they compare whatever they call living to what we experience, even when dysmorphia shows a dead face in the mirror.

Heterosexuality does not have a gravitational pull and straights are not the center of the universe. Nor do queer cis women need to be the center of everything. I’m thinking of when TERFy, SWERFy Liz Lemon told queer icon and trans ally Jenna Maroney that the world doesn’t revolve around her, and Jenna rebuked her: “I am too, I’m the moon!”

That is the level of pride I want us on this June. Good thing it’s June all year.

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Natalie writes about ghosts, the gays, no-wave feminism, and lefty politics. She lives in New York with her beloved Pomeranian. Follow Natalie on Twitter and read more of her writing here.

Natalie has written 10 articles for us.


  1. Wow needed this.

    Also braver poetry than I write.

    Wish my mum could just understand this. When I say ‘I don’t want to look like dad’ it has everything to do with who he is and nothing to do with gender.

  2. I loved reading this poem, and your thoughts on “the arbitrary power to name.” Thank you!

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