Page after page, the shit rolls in:
hysterical headlines that seem so real
to those beyond our circle, inked in lies,
telling the middle-class bigots
that we’re the target group they’re still permitted to despise.
Page after page.
Wave after wave of mindless rage.
As if our eyes can’t see, our hearts can’t feel.
Thugs on the streets or the buses,
throwing rocks or punches at us for holding hands.
Mumsnet mums on their phones throwing digital slurs,
as they pack their children’s lunches
in eco-friendly paper bags and tie
pink bands around their perfect plaits:
all of them running so scared
because we, the gender rebels, dared
to cut our hair and wear
a shirt and tie, and live as the men we are;
or grow our hair and wear
a skirt and tights, and live as the women that we are;
or dye our hair multiple shades of blue and wear
rainbow unicorn socks
and refuse to tick ANY fucking gender box
(or indeed any combination of the above that might suggest
for a millisecond that we love and accept ourselves the way
we truly are)… none of it matters, in the end,
because the only way to play
the game is their way, they say: to shine the masks up, and pretend.
Conform, they tell us; heaven knows we tried, we tried,
we thought we could forget
the truth of who we always were, and just play small, and hide…
until the weight of masks began to suffocate us,
and the exhaustion of pretence began to break us
somewhere deep inside…until the moment came to realise
it was this or die…
and some chose this, and others died.
Our non-compliance is a threat, or so it seems,
to the existence of their dreams
of Man-the-Head; to the extent
that in the eyes, still blurred with lies,
of those who think they know it all,
we would be better dead.
Our flag is life and hope, within our circle; but to them
offensive, painting the sky with
words they wish they never had to hear.
And still, wave after wave, the shit rolls nearer.
Photographs of those they hurt. Nazis escorted by police,
to keep them safe while they attack our Pride.
(And what about OUR safety? Don’t we count?)
Swastikas flying freely, flouting law,
and our flag trampled in the dirt and blood and mud…
and we, thrown here and there by every wave,
half-broken, all exhausted, wash up now in some dark cave,
as with our final strength we gather up the remnants of our flag
from seaweed-slimy rocks,
and wash the stink of fascists from our skin;
and yet again,
the mothers, frowning as we proclaim our right to breathe,
begin a new petition.
And we are here,
still calling out for allies
to join our coalition of the brave,
but, if I’m honest,