Everyone Should Read This Incredibly Powerful Poem A Man Wrote To His Transgender Sister

A poem by Asia Samson

“Pink Crayons”

Originally performed at Lip Service Stories on May 9, 2015 in Coral Gables, FL.

Trust us, you will want to read to the end.


One early Christmas morning, in front of my entire family,

my baby brother

propped himself up on his own two feet

rose from his pile of new baby boy toys and

waddled clear across the room,

eyes locked at the pink Barbie doll my sister was unwrapping


We started laughing

My uncles made jokes

But when he snatched that Barbie doll from my sister and refused to let go

my father came swooping in with my new football

hoping it would distract him long enough for my uncles to

pry that Barbie from his hands

But my baby brother just

Took that football

Threw it with every intent to shatter the gender mold he has yet to understand

And we all watched as it rocketed just a few inches shy of

hitting my grandmother square in her face. To this day,

I have never seen an old Asian woman duck that fast


My parents said it was just a phase that would pass

My brother liking dolls. Or perhaps,

he just liked anything that’s pink

And there’s nothing wrong with liking pink

It’s just a color

It means nothing

Even the sky prefers pink before it turns blue and

one day my brother will too…after all,


We were all children once

We were all a box of crayons

Wanting free reign to let loose

And that was okay

At least until the day our parents felt it was time to grow up

When they could no longer see our imaginations for the scribbles they were

When they felt they needed to teach us that this world is a coloring book and

we need to stay inside the lines of whatever perfect picture

someone else deemed appropriate to draw out


So when it came to raising my brother, my parents became devout

Scolded him for skipping around the house

Force fed Tonka Trucks like vegetables

Snatched the pink crayon from his fingers and replaced it with blue

For the record, my parents were never cruel

They just wanted him to color a certain way but


By his 5th birthday

He still refused to put the dolls away

In fact, he was drawing them

Barbies wearing all the dresses he imagined out loud

colored each one with all the pink crayons left over after he

threw all the other colors out


By his 8th

my parents finally admitted it was clearly not a phase the day

my mother stopped him just seconds before he tried applying her makeup to his face


By his 16th

He was hiding women’s dresses in the closet behind his clothes


But on the day he turned 18 years old

My baby brother

Reached his hand to the back of that closet

Pulled out one of those dresses and said he was no longer going to hide

Swiped the first streak of makeup across his eyes

Looked into the mirror and told himself

I…am free


And my mother worries

That one day

My baby brother (I mean, sister) will be taunted by an angry village

Who will hold pitchforks the shape of picket signs

Who will want to

Hurl bibles hoping it may knock some sense into her

Douse her with Holy Water to try and wash the makeup clear off her face for good


And my mother worries

That a war has been brewing full of the self-righteous

Hell bent on making sure people like my sister will lose

Or worse

That a drunken man will whistle at her beauty

then beat her lifeless when he finds out her truth

Carla (L) and her brother Asia Samson, a poet.

I asked him (her) if she ever gets afraid

She said she’s more afraid of who she would become if she denied what she felt in her heart

She said if she had a choice

She would have tapped God on the shoulder the moment He started to piece her together and say,

Hey, I think you’re using the wrong parts.


But she can’t

Because God creates what he creates

She said

If I was created as a boy with a longing to be a girl at an age 

when I was still too young to comprehend the choice I was about to make,

Then I have to believe God makes no mistakes

And if God is the loving God you all say He is, 

Then I have to believe He would never create someone He only intended to hate


The poet in me wants to tell her she’s right

My left wing says hand her an ax and we’ll both ride courageously into the night

Chopping down every single picket sign we see in sight


But this is not a transgender pride poem

I’m not here to trivialize a struggle

I’m not trying to wage a revolution

I’m not even sure what fight this is


Because when it comes to all this

There’s a lot I don’t know

It’s a world I know nothing about

And to be honest, dear sister,

I’m almost afraid to find out


What if I’m not as open-minded as I’d like to claim?

What if I can’t help but cringe when I call you by your new name?

What if I can’t distinguish the woman you’ve become from the young boy we still think you are?


But you

And your caring heart

Would never force us into such things

Would never bring the war inside our front door


And it’s because of that

I need

To be the one to step out dressed in your courage

To meet you where you might need me the most


Because even if there’s so much I still don’t know

All I need to know is my only job is to love you

And if the only fight you’ll ever ask of me

Is the fight within myself to not confuse him with her or he with she

Then believe me

I’ll fight to correct myself every single time

But just know if the turbulent time comes

when that’s no longer enough

when the fight wants to force you to run and hide

Then believe me, Carla

I’ll be by your side

Scribbling love with a pink crayon

All over their picket signs

Asia Samson is a spoken word poet. You can learn more about him by visiting his website: www.TheAsiaProject.com

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This story originally was published in RiseMiamiNews on May 16, 2015.

Cover Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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