Kelsie Adelaide / Australia
“In writing a testimony, I found it hard to encapsulate everything into anecdotal form. So here it is in poem form instead- I hope that’s ok. I wrote the first half of the poem after I moved to Melbourne, Australia, and the second half on the plane heading back to my hometown for christmas.
I stare but I forget to smile.
I look away and feel shame set in.
I feel my insides twist and my heart stutter and my palm itch.
I read about girls who like girls who see girls who are girls who like girls and make themselves known as girls girls girls but I’m not that girl.
I’m a girl who likes girls but only on the inside, indoors, in windows of time, moments of feeling safe and secluded, with eyes in the back of my head, on my neck, my spine, my hand on hers.
Without her hand I feel like a creep.
I feel I am the male gaze among the lady gays in the clubs, the market, the street. Hating to see her go but loving to watch her weave her way through this queer world without stumbling. I don’t know her name, but I know I am nothing like her. Not yet.
Now I live somewhere where it’s ok, ok to be out, to be proud, to be gay.
But still I’m shy about my haircut that screams Hey, Look, It’s a Queer
A haircut that earns me stares but here the stares are endearment rather than fear of a queer body in a white bread space. I am here.
Eight months on I’m wiser now
Fearful still but uncaring and proud. My wisdom includes the acceptance of myself, my mind and heart even if they aren’t any louder. They don’t need to be louder.
I did have a girl here, and for a short time I held her dear,
Kissed her in public regardless of fear
And do you know what happened?
Nobody stared or forgot to smile, nobody looked away in second-hand shame. Nobody howled or called me a name. Nobody and nothing.
I am flying home to a place unsafe, for a short time, but my queerness does not take a holiday, but these holy days in this hole of a town will not cloud or revert me. I am quietly queer and, while alone, supported
By friends and parents and strangers and girls who like girls and girls girls girls
So I will not flinch or hesitate, or glance around aware of my state.
I will not grow my hair, I will not wear a dress, I will not stay indoors in windows of fleeting moments, I will be outside. Out and quiet and always proud.”