artwork from: http://justseeds.org/rad-teen-print-of-the-week-4-queer-prison-rights/

My body is a war zone

Men want to protect me from other men.

Religious zealots want to kill me.

Politicians take my identity and parade it around for votes.

Target wants to market to me.

Straight people imitate my culture for laughs and come to my parties like they’re vacations.

Gay people get beat and shot to death. Trans people that can’t pass can’t get jobs.

But it’s fine because there was a gay couple in an ikea catalogue recently so. We’re fine. Ellen has her own show now.

We’ll be fine like we are always fine. Let us die off one by one of AIDS but we’re still here. Arrest us for sexual conduct where we get the shit kicked out of us in jail but we’re still here. Call us names, tell us our sex doesn’t count as sex and our families and lives are abominations. Kick us out of your businesses. We are still here. Pay us less. Rape us. Beat us. Kill us. Tax us. We are still here.

You can sign your HRC campaign and come to pride every year to make yourself feel like you did something for us. We are still here. With substance abuse problems. Abusive relationships. No familial support. But we are fine because Glee is on. We are fine because we are marketed to. Because we can get married now. We have the Tony’s. We are fine.

I see you. A liberal guy in California looking at my chest trying to figure me out. How big are my hands? How deep is my voice? “Si-ma’am?” Trying to figure out what box I fit into, how to treat me. I see you. I don’t need to make you feel comfortable. What I need is for you to care less about how I make you feel and care more about me. I see you sharing supportive articles on social media and then rolling your eyes when I confront you at work about something shitty you said. I see you. I see you defy hatred in others and ignore it in yourself. I see you use me to make yourself feel better, feel more interesting. More liberal. More progressive.

Please don’t tell me you know what’s best for me. Please don’t tell me you can solve my problems. Listen to me. Let me solve my own problems with your help.

I can tell you how to keep me safe. I can tell you how to help me have healthy relationships and how to build a healthy family. I can tell you how I want to contribute to society. I know these things. So listen. Listen to me. Listen to my community. When we ask. When we beg for gun control laws. When we tell you we don’t need bathroom police, we need better LGBT support groups in schools and mandatory queer and women’s studies in high school. When we beg for more inclusive sex education, easier access to health care services and more transparent hate crime laws, listen. Listen to us. Listen to us when we talk about the importance of visibility, the importance of varied stories about queer people in pop culture. When we say casual sexism and casual discrimination leads to bigger, more horrible things. When we talk about the need for queer only safe spaces. Don’t get defensive. Don’t feel excluded. Don’t make me feel bad for asking for what I need, what my community needs.

Don’t love me when I am a good time, dancing with you making you feel liberal and interesting and then plug your ears when I need help. Work with me. Listen to me. Don’t fucking tell me what I need.

Don’t use the deaths of my people as an excuse to hate others. Don’t think I will agree with you. Don’t think more hate is what will bring us together. We are not seeking a common enemy. What we should be seeking is commonality and understanding across all planes. We don’t need more enemies. That’s what we don’t need.

I will not be sending my empty prayers to Orlando. They don’t need that either. Instead I will insist that you listen. You listen to the community’s cries for help. You will ask what they need and you will give it to them. You will put your personal agendas aside and you will solve the problem at hand, which is how to make queer communities and by extension the rest of America safe. You will not use this tragedy as a reason to get on your soap box to talk about Muslims, religion, your personal feelings about gay people or youth culture. You will use this only as a catalyst for keeping queer people and by extension the rest of America safe. That is the only issue at hand here. The only problem to solve.

Solve it.

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