The only good thing about the reading team

Was that I flipped through the books,

& somehow decided on your deadname.



You may just be a paperback from middle school

But you are so, so real to me



You made being trans real.

You made it more tangible than

I wish I were a boy

Please, when I wake up, turn me into a boy



Thank you

Thank you

Thank you

Thank you



You made me real



How does it feel to be so controversial?

I can’t decide if I would love being the center of attention

Or hate that it's because they want me burned.



I beg of you,

Don’t look at your reviews.

They say you’re too crass and sexual.

They want you to be what we aren’t



I worry about the children

I worry about them every day

I know what their parents tell them about us

Wishy washy “identifies as (...)” “feels like a (...)” at best

Slurs and accusations most of the time.

Panic defenses and conversion therapy at worst.



I hope you wear it like a badge,

Number one most banned book in 2020

On the top ten every year since you’ve come out



Wear it alongside

The Lambda Literary Award

The Stonewall Award

The Children's Choice Award

The Juvenile California Book Award

Wear both with pride.



Wear it for the children who google stupid things

Am I gay test

What is transgender

Am I transgender test

Will my parents still love me if I'm transgender

And hastily after

How to delete search history



Wear it for the children who never met a kid like them

Whose parents swear they’re just confused

Whose teachers think it's just acting out

Who are starting to hope it's just a phase that goes away soon

So they can go back to playing with the other kids



I'm sorry.



It shouldn't be your job to educate the world

And it definitely shouldn't be your job

To take all of that vitriol, unable to respond for yourself



I would say that fate is cruel,

But we both know that a part of this was calculated.

A lack of luck played no part in them tearing you with their teeth



Melissa I will never forgive the publishers for what they did to you

Said your name was not marketable enough

And paraded your shell on bookshelves



I’m sorry that when I hold you

& press you into the faces of my teachers

Showing you off to my world in appraisal

They will see your cover and read




I wouldn’t blame you if you gave up.

Crawled back into yourself

& called yourself George again.



Someday I will scribble out my cover in sharpie

Turning the name written there into a muddled mass

And replace it with what the title was meant to be,


Yours truly,