Who am I? What am I supposed to be?
When everything’s predetermined—
Can I still really be me?
I asked within myself; got me in deep thinking.
Right off the bat—
I’ve been put in a box;
Set aside, push down to the ground.
Often told, “You gotta be harder than that.”
But they can’t see—
That in my gentleness, there’s beauty.
Standing tall, strong, and proud I may not be;
But there’s a different strength residing in me.
It takes a lot of guts to be this way;
To take every jab, joke, and injury,
All mindlessly thrown at me.
Yet, a smile is what I always repay.
I take it all in—
Soaking it up like a sponge.
I don’t hurl back what you bring forth;
For within myself, I know my worth.
Countless times, I’ve been invaded—
Even if I take it into myself to be separated.
In the warmth and safety of my closet;
I’ve been constantly pressured and bombarded.
“You talk like this; you dress like that,”
“You like her? You love him!”
Have you never truly realized?
That I am completely sick of that.
I have had it;
The way they all screw me over,
Just because of who I choose as my lover.
But still, I say in a little whisper—
I am who I’m meant to be.
You with your labels that hurt,
You who failed to spread love and hope—
Can never grasp the truth of our worth.
We are more than the slurs,
You say, scream, and hurl.
We are and always be stronger,
Than the walls where you pin us under.
Now my people shout back,
We will no longer be a sitting duck.
Your attacks we will not tolerate;
We are not a shed where you store your hate.
You all look at us with so much disdain.
Yet, not a single one of you—
Have experienced our struggles,
Have experienced our pain.
When the sickness came,
All your disgust and horror, to us you aim.
Left in the dust; you all chose not to see—
We are the same; both humans, you and me.
Now we reclaim our time.
All those days living off of a dime.
Mistreated and taken for granted,
We now say what we’ve always wanted.
We are just like you;
We live, love, grow old—
We have memories we dearly hold.
We are and always will be a part of this world.
Why can’t we have what you have?
In public: hold hands, kiss, and hug?
Be seen as equals; be more than a gag.
Why is it when we do things, it’s never enough?
Our mistakes magnified; skills overlooked—
Just because we’ve never been textbook.
Our effort thrice as his—
Just so we get an ounce of his success.
“Entitled,” you scream whenever we demand,
The rights we never held in our hand.
“Scram,” you say whenever we rally,
When our lives lost is what you tally.
We have had enough;
We will not be silent.
Take it on the streets, so you won’t forget—
We are art; meant to be displayed, not kept in secret.
We will be loud; louder than you’ve always been.
Go on and tell us, that’s our sin—
But we’ll do everything we need,
Just for us, to be finally seen.
Don’t get me or my people wrong;
Educate yourself; get involved in the scene.
This is not me coming out of the closet—
This is me, letting you all in.