Don't Talk Gender to Me

אל תדברו איתי מגדר

Talk to me about Mother and Father,

Because she’s the one who cleans and only he works

And she cleans for a living but she doesn’t work.

First of all, she is a mother twenty-four-seven

And father knows all about God in Heaven.

Don’t talk gender to me,

Talk to me about brother and sister

Because she is the one to be a good girl

And he’s the one to get in fist fights with all

But hey, nothing’s wrong, that’s just noise,

He’s a violent bully, and boys will be boys.

Don’t talk gender to me,

Talk uncle and aunt,

Because she’s braiding everyone’s hair

And he’s touching all the girls but no one cares

And we don’t talk about drunken uncles

Because they are lost sheep, somewhat funny,

And they always treat you with a little money.

Don’t talk gender to me,

I didn’t know it’s normal to have more than two genders

And it was not a distortion,

I didn’t know a woman had the right to abortion,

And that men had the right to wear a dress,

Even out of religious or ethnic context

Even without a formal social approval.

And that crop tops were not only for females

I didn’t know

That boys don’t need style

To rock a pink shirt,

And girls can wear blue too,

It doesn’t hurt.

Don’t talk gender to me,

Talk to me about the future

Talk about wedding

And about sacred rituals like lovemaking,

When he’s in bed on top of me

And they want me to think about the family

I need to host on Friday

I need to rap in person

So that no-one hears.

Talk to me about what’s clear

And what used to be

About strict rules

Both in and out of bed

And about the hunting I won’t do

Because it’s not my place to bring this food.

This is his

And this is hers

And it’s important, you should know, it does carry some baggage

But gender for us, it’s foreign language.

Don’t talk gender to me,

Because I have sinned

And I am independent and I preach

Until the high holidays, then

I become the family’s little bitch.

Translated by Dana G. Peleg

2016, poem

שירה, 2016

Jenet Belay

“I’m 26 years old woman, black, Ethiopian, queer, from Beersheba. Poetess and social activist in every component of my identity. Member of the Call.Activit group for the advancement of black and local thought and art. Content producer at Tzlal – an Ethiopean restaurant and cultural center.”

ג'נט בלאי

בת 26, אישה, שחורה, אתיופית, קווירית ובאר-שבעית. משוררת ופעילה חברתית בכל אחד ממרכיבי הזהות שלי. חברה בארגון "קולאקטיבי.ת" לקידום תרבות, הגות ואמנות שחורה ומקומית. מפיקת תוכן במסעדת "צלל", מסעדה ומרכז תרבותי אתיופי.
Artwork location:
היצירה מוצגת ברחובות:
חורב/ סיני, חיפה | דרך יד לבנים 184, חיפה | טשרניחובסקי/ ישעיהו, חיפה | מסדה 33, חיפה