Sitting with Words

I am sitting tonight, slowly sitting with page after page of a fascinating and deeply challenging and beautiful and disturbing read.

I am sitting tonight on a bed covered in furs, my womb long now incinerated in a hospital waste disposal unit.

I am sitting tonight with Words.

Not just words, but Words, the power evoked and the spells woven when we spell out letter after letter and invoke the magic inherit within those letters strung together.  When we place that Word upon our head, and wear it as a crown.  When we put our power behind those words, when we lace our liberty into their bonds, when we create this thing called identity.

I’m not Trans.  There, I said it.  I’m not transsexual, not transgendered, not transitioning or transitioned.  Perhaps I strive towards transparency, and have tendencies towards the transpersonal.  But Trans is not a crown I wear.  It is not a mantle I claim.  I bear no ill will to any of the identities that I set aside here in this post, with the crowns I take from my head.  I bear no ill will to those who wear them with pride, who they fit like a glove.  But I am shedding my clothes, I am devesting, I am passing them on to you who will love them.  But I’m not Trans.  The word, as it were, makes me feel fat with the weight behind it.  I don’t look good in these letters.

I’m not Femme.  This, this is harder for me to say.  Gods, so much harder to say, keys and fingers fighting back and forth as the confession falls from my lips, from my hands.  I may be many things- an individual who loves to dress in a wide variety of wardrobe that I can pull off with panache, a passionate spirit who invests fully in the moment, part muppet.  But I gaze at my beautiful former Femme mantle and thank it for all it has given me.  A comfortable label to wrap around me in the night between genders.  A safe space to feel beloved and beautiful.  But I am beautiful, I am bold, I am independent of you.  I may don you for a moment here and there in the future, but you are not mine.  You are not for me to cling to.  I offer you up for the next Femme who needs you, because they will need you as I needed you.

I’m not Gender Radical.  I tear up as I put this to page and transform you on my website into to Gender Explorer.  For here I am, map and rumors and oral histories in hands traversing your territories, but I am not a Radical on the lands of Gender.  I am not fighting.  I am an enthusiastic gender journeyer, a delighted gender anthropologist… but I am not a Gender Radical.  I have met those who can wear this Spell with all that it holds, and you awe me.  I wanted to be one of you.  I was taken into the truths by your silken sighs and ferocious growls.  I held you close, but you chafe.  You push me.  I have a dharma already though, and you are not my Work on this planet.  You have been a way station, a refueling, and I was blessed by you.  I leave you here at the side of the road, free for the next DIY’er to lift you to the sky and shout with the delight and bedevilment you hold.

Tonight between candles I challenged someone I love to give me their I AMs.  They were sitting with Self-Doubt, and to self-doubt we must have a perceived Self that we are doubting.  They laid them out, glittering gems from their tongue across the fiber optic to my ears.  They lay out their I AMs, and I held each up to them to doubt.  Do you doubt your Sensitivity?  your Vulnerability?  your Awareness?  No, they said to each.  Then this Self-doubt you speak of… what does your Self say?

And within the first 20 pages of an argument I have seen before, I find myself sitting with my own descriptor words, my own I AMs.  Because I have glittering gold in my ear, a promise to listen.  Two helmets, six books of shadows, three pentacles, and an incision upon my abdomen.  Rubies fall from my tongue.

I am Passionate.

I am Blessed.

I am Doing my Work.

I am Loved.

I am Joyous.

I am Magical.

I am Soulful.

I am Wise.

I am Love.

These… these I can say. Tonight, as I sit with Words.  But these other three mantles… I set you down.  I thank you Trans.  I thank you Femme.  I thank you Gender Radical.  I thank you three for your service and set you down.  I thank you Trans, Femme and Gender Radical, and set you free to do your own Work.


Lee Harrington

Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality, relationships, and personal authenticity educator. Having taught in all 50 states and in 6 countries, he brings a combination of playful engagement and thoughtful academic dialogue to a broad audience. An award-winning author and editor on gender, sexual, and sacred experience, his books include “Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Journeys,” and "Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond," among many other titles. He has been blogging online since 1998, and been teaching worldwide since 2001. Welcome to his world, and your chance to expand your mind and heart alike.


  1. Beautiful.
    rest, and be well.
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thanks this helps with what I am thinking about and where my mind has been lately. See you soon.

  3. Lee, I hear a surrender into being – that is so beautiful. I love how when we surrender totally to who we are – we are also claiming owning and declaring all at the same time. You have your own inner wildness that is primal and simply yours.
    Sending love and healing –

  4. This is so beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your amazing, evolving self with the rest of us.

  5. Well seen, human. You are you.

  6. You’ve touched me, moved me, and inspired me. Thank you for your vulnerability, it is very powerful. Giving to your wellness and joy. MAY

  7. Not what I was expecting from the by-line. I am aweingly(a word for this moment) surprised. You are validated and accepted(at least in my world). I do have one question though. All of these I AM’s are wonderful descriptors, but none of them seemingly gendered. Is that intentional? And, how wold you like to be referred to in your gender expression?

    • I am still referring to myself with he/him/his, and as a guy and am moving into formally claiming man as part of where and how I walk. I am a man who happens to have a rich and delightful past as a woman, a nice guy with some bonus body parts- but trans is not a term that is serving me right now, so I will hand it off to others who are empowered by it 🙂

  8. This is amazing…

  9. You’ve touched me, moved me, and inspired me. Thank you for your vulnerability, it is very powerful. Giving to your wellness and joy. MAY

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