poem:"A Queerification" by regie cabico
I have always had trouble attaching to groups of people. I identify as a member of the
LGBTQIA+ population. I consider myself an ally for so many communities. However, my struggle has always been finding space for myself within those groups. Something holds me back from truly engaging or feeling like I belong. This month has made me realize that sitting on the sidelines is not an option. Black lives are being targeted. Black trans lives are especially at risk. This month has been a time to listen and learn. It has also been time to speak up and stand with our communities: something I struggle to do.
I decided to research the LGBTQIA+ community and learn more about the history associated with it. Maybe gaining more understanding would help me associate more with the group. It’s strange how so much of that narrative feels like distant history. When I was three years old, Ellen Degeneres was an out and proud lesbian on cable television. I grew up with representation of my sexuality on shows like Glee during high school. Gay marriage was legalized the same year it was legal for me to drink alcohol. The AIDS crisis was a paragraph in my history book. Angels in America was a play in my theatre history book and not even the most current play in that section. The Stonewall Riots feel like distant history. That is the world I live in, but my history
book showed me how false that reality is. The Stonewall Riots were only fifty one years ago. The AIDS epidemic was only thirty-nine years ago. Matthew Shepard was murdered just twenty-two years ago. The Pulse Nightclub shooting was just four years ago. Dominique Fells’ body was found less than two weeks ago. The funny thing about history is that it doesn’t stop. It stays one second behind us but continues to move. I went to find history and instead discovered our current times.
Every major step in the LGBTQIA+ community’s journey to equality has happened for the same reason. The world will not make space for this group. Not only that but powerful pieces of the world try to remove them from any space. The only reason progress occurred was because someone fought back. Instead of waiting to get handed a space to occupy, someone claimed a space. Marsha P. Johnson threw a brick. Larry Kramer screamed for justice. So many people demanded to take up space and be accepted as they were. These people stood up for their community and other communities who needed support.
I said this month was a time to listen and learn. It’s also been a time to make space for myself. I am a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. I stand with others who are. I scream for the black trans community that is being targeted by our country. I scream for those who should still be alive to tell me about our history. I stand here and challenge the world to see me and see us as beautiful, powerful, and equal. This journey isn’t over. This transformation is still happening for me. After this month, I feel ready to be an active participant in my community and our world.
This poem declares this past month’s journey for me. I hope it resonates with you too.
Poem full text:
Copyright © 2014 by Regie Cabico. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.
"January" - Gerhard Richter (1989)