Starting Testosterone During Ramadan Led Me to the Sacred in My Trans Self
Before testosterone, few people ever saw me cry. Now tears come in hot floods, as though some tender, unlanguaged creature has surfaced inside me.
I. Hidden Cities: Olinda
Whatsoever wears the shape of anything in existence
has come from the shadow of the beautiful Simorgh.
If Simorgh unveils its face to you, you will find
that all the birds, be they thirty or forty or more,
are but the shadows cast by that unveiling . . .
Do you see? The shadow and its maker are one and the same.
Invisible Cities Maybe I’m practicing perfect detachmentMaybe I’m closer to God.
II. Cities and Signs: Tamara
Your life,your real life. life vita hayat‘omr life‘Omr
III. Cities and Memory: Isidora
IV. Cities and the Sky: Beersheba
At least in Europeyou’re safe.
Its water is ritually pure and its dead are lawful.
V. Cities and the Dead: Argia
VI. Cities and Desire: Despina
We made from water every living thing.
VII.Continuous Cities: Cecilia
All night long, all day, the doors of Hades stand open.
But to retrace the path, to come up to the sweet air of heaven,
That is labour indeed.
VIII. Cities and Eyes: Valdrada
IX. Thin Cities: Zenobia
Zeyn Joukhadar is the author of the novels The Thirty Names of Night, winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Stonewall Book Award, and The Map of Salt and Stars, which won the Middle East Book Award and was a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards and the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. His work has appeared in the Kink anthology, Salon, The Paris Review, and elsewhere, and has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He guest edited Mizna's 2020 Queer + Trans Voices issue and is a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers as well as a mentor with the Periplus Collective.
Photo credit: Sara Deidda, 2020.
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“It was this Islam, the Islam of authenticity, community, justice, and love, that showed me how to be a truer version of myself.”