Sleeping Hermaphroditus

Emmet Klaseus

The Louvre was breathtaking
So many masterpieces in one space
So many people

Sleeping Hermaphroditus
Stuck out to me the most
It is a life-sized marble sculpture
The son of Hermes and Aphrodite

He was lying on his right side
Left knee bent and head facing away from his abdomen
His face and hair were feminine with a voluptuous body and breasts
His back was to us and facing the wall was his flaccid penis

The others snickered at the statue’s androgyny
I was enthralled

My tour guide explained how he used to be displayed in the center of the room
Where he could be seen from all sides
Until adults said a group of school children were confused by him
So he was banished to the corner
With hopes passersby would think he was only a woman

Isn’t that how it always is?
Someone different comes along
People don’t understand
They get scared
Diminish the newcomer’s existence
Until they either fit in or disappear completely

I saw a sculpture of someone similar to myself from the 1600s
That was purposefully pushed to the side
But it could have been worse
The museum could have taken out the statue completely
Could have destroyed it even

People like me are dying, have died and will continue to die
As long as others keep pretending we don’t exist
Or worst call us monsters
People like me have history
It is messy, dark, and beautifully complex
Just like everyone else’s
It deserves to be seen