Being Transgender: the hurt and the pain – Poetry by Pauline Smith

Pauline is sat on a bench and smiles while she writes poetry

Sharing her story

One of the participants of our project, Dial, has recently sent us two poems that we would like to share. These poems were originally published in Talking About My Generation – a publication for over 50s, where community reporters are encouraged to change the record about what it’s like to grow older in Greater Manchester.

Pauline identifies as a trans woman, and her powerful words really resonated with us after the launch of our podcast, Box Tickers, a few weeks ago. Ten years on from the introduction of the Equality Act 2010, Box Tickers explores provocations from 13 Greater Manchester artists who are considering the protected characteristics listed under the Equality Act and asking what we could do better.

In Episode 2 of Box Tickers, Oskar Marchock talks about gender identity, and in episode 4, and poet mandla talks about the gender binary. Since the beginning of lockdown, we’ve seen the rolling back of trans rights, and transphobia from prolific figures – and with that increase, it’s important that we openly support the trans community and a world where they feel safe to be themselves.

If you have the time, please read Pauline’s poems below and have a listen to Box Tickers. If you want to offer your support to trans communities at this time, you can donate to Gendered Intelligence here. 

Being Transgender: The Hurt and The Pain

Trans am I

As are my sisters brothers

And non binary folk

She he they

All of us the T in LGBT


Will toilets be open

For us to choose to use

Or closed to us like many want

Will we become pariahs

Made into lepers

Mocked despised ridiculed


Words wound us

Hate hurts us

Bullies batter us

Acid attacks us

Corrosive as corona

Nasty are words of hate

And ….”free speech”


Who cares about trans

Not Rowling Trump or Truss

Let’s roll back the years

They and their supporters say

Make it illegal for us

To be who are and

Who we could truly be


We are not alone

Many support us now

Not only LGB folk

But young and old

We are daughters sons

Brothers sisters

Aunts uncles

Grandads and grandmas


Those who choose to help us

Are many colours many faiths

No faiths all those with kind hearts

As trans women trans men

As non binary we all see


Your love and support

For Us

You care you don’t hate

You support us

With actions and words

Hugs and love

Thank You All of You

A trans rights protest, where someone holds a sign saying 'trans rights are human rights'

Autumn In Our Place

25 weeks now in lockdown

springtime full of sunny days

quiet roads and streets like the 50s

the shock of Covid

new ways of living

In Our Place


So many quiet days wondering

“Ast bin men bin”

or postie with his sack

Will I see anyone today

its ‘angin’ ain’t it

In Our Place


Summer of much hotter days

too pants for me

too humid inside or out

Sometimes the relief of rain couching down

with thunder plumps flowing into

ginnels and back yards

the local park’s metal dinosaur glistening after in the sun

In Our Place


Brews a plenty throughout

Ham barms spread with butter

Fish and chips and peas with pea wet

from the Top O’ Th’ Cross Chippy

for a chippy tea

And then pubs opening

lots enjoying a few scoops

In Our Place


All those scallys in downing street

are they just demic with

U-turns too many to count

It is so bobbins this Covid

it’s well bad

In Our Place


Autumnal days cooler shorter

still in lockdown

will it be sorted

by the London Bell Ends

or will it get dead worse

In Our Place


On Florizel Street

people like us continue

bessies supporting each other

however mingin’ it is

We are still buzzin’ for life

you don’t get owt for nowt

In Our Place

A photo of Manchester taken from a drone

About Pauline

Pauline sits on a park bench while photographer Joe Smith takes her portrait.

Pauline Smith is a writer and poet, active in the LGBT Foundation’s Butterflies, Out in the City and Pride in Ageing programme.

She volunteered in the start-up of the Trans MCR programme as well as serving as a befriender of the LGBTQ Foundation.

Pauline is a trans woman and passionate about supporting the Trans Community in Manchester – she speaks three languages outside of English and is interested in football, women’s fashion, current affairs, reading, cooking and travelling. You can find more of her writing here. 

Being Transgender: The Hurt and The Pain and Autumn In Our Place were first published with Talking About My Generation and have been shared with permission from Pauline. Find out more about Talking About My Generation here.