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Charlie Loopuijt

"I’m Charlie (they/them) a trans nonbinary queer health researcher and activist. Writing has always been a liberatory practice for me, in some ways it is the only way I know to express myself safely, without limitation, and without punitive threat. I started Queer Football Collective (@queerfootballcollective) to create a safe place for queer and particularly trans people to have safe access to health and well-being.

This is a piece that honours all the versions of myself I have been before arriving home, in my trans non-binary body. It’s called, “All the selves I’ve disowned.”

IG: @charlieloopuytpoetry


All the selves I've disowned

It feels like I am just now born and living.

Trans time.

A rebirth.

Reconnecting and meeting all the selves

That I had disowned

To fit into a body that was not

my home.

I took the shape of a fragile hermit crab

Occupying empty shells I find a long the way,

To conceal and protect my brittle bones.

I have carried many shells,

I have worn many skins,

And been many people.

But never all at once -

Always a single person at a time.

I was a girl once

Or so they said.

A kid who’d rather catch grasshoppers

Alone in a field

and feel their crawly feet

Move over the nerves on my palms,

As though they were traversing

The venation of a leaf.

A reminder that we are all

Living, breathing things.

A kid who’d rather climb a treehouse and hide

To read a book over and over

And you couldn’t stop her.

I was a tomboy.

I was a tomboy once.

Then a tomboy disowned.

A lipstick lesbian took her place

With a clumsy performance of femininity.

I was the butch,

I was the damaged -

The dyke.

Heck, I was Shane from the L word.

Finding scripted selves

Never authentic ones.

Wearing flannel as shells

And hiding fantasy figures of me

In the books on my shelves.


But that’s plural.

Yes, yes it is.

I am plural.

I am all the selves that I have disowned

And all the selves I have yet to meet.

I am a soft and gentle masculinity.

I am goofy, nerdy, curious, questioning, sexy, and a HOT boy.

I am vulnerable and quirky.

I am sometimes lost. And when depression shows up

I am sometimes anchored to the bed of the ocean.

Sound travels faster under water

Making it seem louder.

And when I am sleeping there

Sounds become distorted but thundering.

But I am plural.

And all my selves reach down

To pull me up into the air,

And I take a deep breath

And remember,

We are all here.

They/them. Yes, I am plural.

I am all the people I’ve ever been

and all the people I have disowned.

I am them.

I am connecting differently to gendered parts

By looking at my whole self. Really looking.

Through vulnerability.

Through sex.

When she is looking. Really looking.

And I dare to look back

As I embody all my fantasy figures -

All the selves I’ve disowned

And we meet them together.

All my selves reemerge

And we take each other by the hand

And it feels like I am just now born and living.

My shell a plurality.

My shell a home,

Not a hiding place.

I am queer and weird and awkward,

I am relational and individual.

I am plural.

I am all the selves I’ve disowned.

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