November 11, 2023

Poetry, Pride & the Perils of Being “Too Gay.”


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As I sipped my tea, a friend leaned across the café table, her face wearing that all-too-familiar expression of “constructive” criticism.

My freshly minted poetry book sat between us, its cover gleaming and pages yet uncreased.

“You know,” she began delicately, “maybe in your next collection, you might consider being a bit…less gay?” She gestured toward my book, “You don’t want to limit your audience.”

Each poem in that book, like every heartbeat in my chest, is a culmination of raw emotion, experiences, and intricate pieces of me. Yes, many lines sing praises of queer love, pain, and triumph because that’s a story worth telling.

It’s my truth, and I will not water it down for anyone.

As a queer poet, I am well aware of the tightrope we walk when it comes to being “too gay.” On one side, there are those who eagerly label us as such, dismissing our work as niche or irrelevant. On the other hand, some expect us to be the poster-children for the LGBTQ+ community, boxing us into a singular identity and dismissing our individual complexities.

Being queer isn’t an aesthetic choice or a trend I’ve adopted. It’s an integral thread in the fabric of who I am. It’s the prism through which I’ve seen both darkness and light, and it’s enriched every line I’ve penned.

In the vibrant by-lanes of New Orleans, amidst the comforting embrace of its queer community, I found the courage to express, celebrate, and, yes, poetize my truth. A world where rainbows aren’t just refracted light but symbols of resilience, pride, and unity.

Being “less gay” would be doing a disservice to that world and to my very essence.

“Imagine,” I told her, my voice firm yet gentle, “a young queer soul finding solace in my words. Feeling seen. Feeling understood. Knowing they aren’t alone.”

Each stanza I write, each metaphor I conjure, they’re not just for the sake of art. They’re lifelines. They’re affirmations. They’re subtle nudges saying, “It’s okay to be you.”

And to those who might feel my poetry is too niche, too exclusive, or yes, “too gay,” I ask:

When did the spectrum of human emotion become niche? When did love, in all its forms, become exclusive?

My poetry, in its essence, is universal—a celebration of love, identity, struggle, and triumph.

In a world saturated with voices that often try to silence ours, poetry is our megaphone. And I refuse to lower my voice. I choose authenticity over dilution. Because, at the end of the day, poetry is a mirror to the soul. And my soul? It’s brilliantly, unapologetically queer.

So, if the verses sing of rainbows, remember they are not just colors—they are stories, struggles, and, most importantly, they are love.


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