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“Josephine,” a poem by J. Mace III in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, 2020

Josephine of Genesis


a poem by J Mace III, a trans BIPOC (Black, Indiginous, and people of color) poet, in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance November 20, 2020.

She asks if she can talk to me about Jesus at 3 a.m. on the C train

because something about my queer face means

clearly, I’m on a path straight to Hell

I’ve come to expect this type of reaction

from strangers

at least once a week

since the first time I was exorcised at 16

But today

I’ve grown tired

and I’ve decided it is my turn to proselytize

So, before you do any of that

I want to know from you

Have you heard the good word about

Joseph of Genesis?




Jo of Genesis

favorite child of Jacob

aka Israel

when asked

what you wanted

you desired one thing:

a kethoneth passim (כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים)

Pastor called this a royal coat



I had never read the Bible before

found you and kept reading


I got to 2nd Samuel

and realized your coat of many colors

was a princess dress


your father must have really loved you

Because he got it for you

and you wore it with pride


when your brothers saw you

in your flowing dress

in your glory

they became enraged

I am sorry for the beating your received

Sorry they destroyed your dress

and smeared it with the red paint of your swollen veins


Did you know they told your father you were dead

so he’d never come looking for you

Never knew your brothers sold you as a slave into Egypt

and once you were stolen from your home fields

the earth dried up


the very ground on which you walked

mourned the loss of its genderqueer child

and all the plants died

and the animals no longer had the will to live


your family nearly starved

Saw the formation of ribs

where once grew flesh

and belly fat

And they

hungry and desperate

traveled into Egypt

And what must they have seen, Jo?

See, in Egypt people discovered you

not as a f**

not as tr****

They saw you in totality

You went from slave

to leader over lands

There you were, Josephine

You looked magnificent

As you

Your family couldn’t even recognize you through the glare of divinity

But you saw them shivering in fear

Waiting to hear what this regal leader might say

Wondering if your spirit might see fit

to grant them the grain needed to survive

and Joseph

love broke through

the darkness of resentment

And for the first time

your family saw you

as you

as Magnificent

for it was your word

that saved them from starvation

Dear Joseph of Genesis

aka Josephine

aka Jo

I am claiming your story

for every queer kid told

they are unholy

for every queer told

in order to love

we must let our faith die

I am going to put it in a pocket

over my heart

next to Ruth & Naomi

next to David & Jonathan

next to Hegai & Deborah

and seat them at the last Passover

with Jesus and Lazarus


I am taking Jesus with me too

Dear pastor

To you who claim your words are from God

but whose book is pledged to King James

know what allegiances you keep

You’ve been lying about my people for too long


Full list of transgender/gender non-conforming folx lost this year due to violence:


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