Lace Up Their Boots

Tate N. Oquendo

Artist Statement

Lace Up Their Boots is a hybrid of hypertext nonfiction and prose poetry. This experience was created in Twine to take advantage of that program's branching interactive elements. The narrative itself follows a gauntlet-style choice structure with a few deviations to explore during multiple sessions. There is some wrestling terminology used in the text itself, but the work as a whole is meant to be accessible to fans and non-fans of that medium.
This work was initially created to reflect and cope with my experience navigating transgender identity in the wake of the end of a fifteen-year partnership, and became much more as the process of writing continued. While there is trauma evident in the narrative, the primary focus is the transformation of the work's speaker through the extended metaphor of a wrestling match. This is a direct reflection of the confidence gained through exploration of gender, sexuality, and my identity as a whole during the process of crafting this interactive narrative. The ending of the wrestling match itself reflects catharsis after a struggle to be seen as equal, as both the speaker and myself are reinvented over time.

About the Artist

Tate N. Oquendo is a trans writer and visual artist that combines these elements to craft multimodal nonfiction, poetry, and fiction, as well as translations of these forms. Their work can be found in numerous literary journals, a poetry collection, a hybrid memoir, and six chapbooks, including their other most recent works: The Antichrist and I and we, animals. They are also an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and their most recently curated anthology, Manticore: Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identities, is available for free on the Sundress Publications website. You can learn more about Tate N. Oquendo and their projects at