trigger warnings: homophobia, homophobic slurs, gun violence

Queerphobia; or, Love, Restricted

watch Sophie’s performance of the poem at the LA Youth Poet Laureate ceremony here

Think you know who I am?

I am:

Long hair and painted nails, so probably straight

An activist who loves to harp on

about heteronormativity,

so, definitely a lesbian

But also loves classic boy-meets-girl romances

and never uses labels. Weird.

The movies never mention us,

and if they do, we’re the punchline.

Our capacity to love is reduced to slimy greed,

always the center of attention,

can’t get enough.

I am split in half by who I am

and who I’m supposed to be,

caught up in this rushing river that never stops

to welcome me, just laughs

when I fall in.

My friends, my allies, my “community”,

take half of me and throw

the other half away, I am puzzle pieces


into words

I’m still too afraid to say.

Why do we quantify our love?

Like I’m dilute, she’s pure one-hundred-percent gold star GAY

Like she ran a marathon to be where she is

and I just took the easy path,

Like I still have so much growing up to do,

Like I am not worthy of this

particular rainbow-splattered table,

Like I am crumpling up my Stonewall-crowned civil rights

and tossing them into the trash

Just to disappear down a stereotypical wedding lane

with some boy

like all girls like me do

eventually, they say.

I’ll marry the guy,

maybe have a few kids

and never EVER go to LA Pride,

and then it will all end badly

because he’ll catch me with some woman

and then I’ll be just another cautionary tale.

I didn’t always know this was my legacy.

I didn’t always know

there was something wrong with me.

But now I’m clued in to all the stereotypes,

I’m beginning to wonder

if there really is some truth

to all these lies.

Think you know who I am?

You don’t.