The gnarled bark looks like the scales of a gargantuan reptile, the black metal a cage. The fire replenishes — I imagine the bark’s regrowth, like a lizard’s lopped-off tail. Reborn like a phoenix. The warm air from the fireplace brushes my eyebrows. It’d almost be pleasant if my skin wasn’t red and angry. The dry, cracking logs are probably in better condition than my skin. I look at the cinders — do they too want to drown themselves in cold Aloe Vera?
The planet is divided: large cracks separating each and every faction of elemental grounds is the only thing that stops chaos and inter-spacial mingling from taking place. There are four lands; The Fire Space, The Nature Spectrum, Aquatica and Vento Legion, each representing the elements Fire, Nature, Water and Wind, Knowingly, These gaps in the earth are deemed uncrossable so creatures are segregated.
Your average day, The Nature kingdom is thriving, People are gathering, colour tinted skin of reds yellows greens and many others with fluorescent hair, plants of all kinds growing over bodies, vines winding around anywhere they could…
I hadn’t slept for the past couple of nights. My hands were shaking, and I kept flinching at movement just outside my field of vision. When I did close my eyes, I had horrifying visions of a writhing, feathered mass, with a shriek that sounded like a knife across glass. I needed to eat — perhaps a full stomach would lull me towards sleep.
I struggled to prise open my fridge door, its rubber seal crying out in protest. The shelves were bare except for a single foil container. It’d have to do. I turned it over in my hands…
He wakes. A pair of socks, yanked on in haste. Stumbling out of bed, waistband pulled high, too high, papers and books swept off the desk and into a school bag. And so, the curtain rises on the morning number. The mirror looms large in the corner of the room, fierce and unwavering in its assertions while the boy — oh yes, the boy — he dances around it as if it were a sleeping lion. The mirror makes him feel small, and yet all too large. …
From a young age I knew there was something different about me compared with the other boys I was friends with. I remember having my first ‘boy crush’ very young, maybe even as young as six years old.
As I grew older it became clear to me that I am gay. I didn’t tell my family or talk about it with them. I grew up in a very small and close community and at that time in the Philippines, especially in the more rural areas, LGBT people were not widely accepted. Gay people were often mocked and made fun of…
This was my chance. The justice system had failed completely. They had the entire media on their side, constant programmes and news reports about how fluffy and adorable they are. The public were being brainwashed. I had to show them the truth, no matter what it took. After working my way up the live streaming charts, I was certain most of the country was watching.
I walked through the pitch-black forest, the beam of my headlamp slicing through the darkness like a rapier. They stuck to the shadows, flitting in-between the trees. I screamed a list of their crimes into…
Pull your oversized sweatshirt down over your hips.
Buy big jeans and sag them down low.
Wear a couple sports bras.
Or a binder that lifts your spirits…
But crushes your ribs.
Because they’ll hear
The little girl that hides in your heart.
Don’t tell them you aren’t actually a lesbian.
Don’t tell them they know you are wrong.
Instead, cry yourself to sleep at night.
Hit your hips every day,
Because one day,
Maybe they’ll cave in and disappear.
Press on your chest past where it hurts,
Press until little drops sprout from your eyes
I came out in a very Jane Austen way: by writing a letter. Well, that’s not strictly true. I came out to a friend of mine first, who had moved to America, and whom I shared all my anxieties with. They encouraged me to tell the truth. And that is what I aimed to do.
I had been lying to myself for a very long time, and this where I found myself at the most terrible of impasses: I needed to tell someone, but who could I tell?
I lived under the same roof as a man who thought that…
I’ve been in this waiting room for a week now.
After my referral went through, I sprinted home to get my supplies. I’d been planning ahead. A rucksack filled with rations, water, blankets and clothes. If you miss the announcement for your first appointment, you’re put back on the waiting list. If you’re late by even a minute? That’s right, back on the waiting list. They don’t send letters. No emails or phone calls either. Not even a fax. Every now and then, a doctor will pace through the waiting room with a clipboard. They’ll give you a special sign…
Bath water so hot it turns flesh red
a second baptism to remind me to feel
breathe in steam and fragrant smoke
anoint my skin with perfume
my neck my wrists my navel
behind my knees and ears
and ask myself:
who is it all for anyway?
my hands spread sticky sweet chrism
up to the flat space on my chest
these are visible rites of reconciliation
expressing love without anathema
drip talc onto my stomach
remember you are dust and
unto dust you shall return
pronouns on my tongue are a holy Eucharist
and Iwon’t swallow them
This collection of writings were all produced by young LGBT people in Scotland to celebrate their artistic lives and make connections with their community.