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A deadname down my throat by Sawyer Sussner



A Note From the Author:


My name is perhaps the most sacred thing about me. I find myself disgusted by things I cannot change -- the shape of my face, the curves of my hips, the softness of my hands. My body is not a prison, but it is haunted. It's made up of ghosts passed down through the generations. But my name -- that is mine. It was a gift to myself, a demonstration of love unlike anything a long line of genetics has ever given me. But I am reminded, at times, that it's not always mine, not to everyone. My deadname is unavoidable, not just because it is written on a twenty one year old birth certificate that has gone yellow at the edges. It follows me home. And in times when I must speak it, it pulls something out from me. It feels like blood, life in liquid form, being drawn by the bagful. It feels like my body betrays me when my lips form to say those sounds in that order. It feels like vomiting. That's what I tried to capture in this piece: that feeling of horror when your body is forced to produce something it feels like it isn't supposed to, and you're left with one thought -- "God, what have I done?"

About the Author:


Sawyer Sussner (he/him) a transmasculine writer and poet from New Jersey studying English and Political Science at Vanderbilt University. He was an honoree at the Vanderbilt University Undergraduate Creative Writing Symposium in 2022 and an opening speaker for Casey Plett and Lydia Conklin during the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 Vanderbilt University Trans and Non-Binary Author Series, respectively. His short stories have been featured in Red Bean Magazine, Ogma Magazine, en*gendered literary magazine, and others. When he isn't scribbling in his journal, he can also be found knitting or reading whichever queer young adult novel is closest. Find him on Twitter @writingbysawyer.

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