SPOTLIGHT: searching stained glass windows for an answer by Linda M. Crate

perhaps They were queer, too

had an identity crisis
when i was sitting in the
church pew,
and i realized that i wasn’t

but all my crushes of the
same sex were all actresses
or characters on the screen

& i kept telling myself that
no one would ever know—

prayed that i would become
but that never happened;

pushed it down and thought
somehow i would be shot down
by a lightening bolt or someone
would somehow find me out—

they never did, but i remember
feeling so guilty over something
i had no choice over and wondering
why i had to carry the burden
of shame when i hadn’t done anything wrong?

i wondered if i were made in God’s image
then perhaps They were queer, too.

done swallowing myself down

i remember when i realized
that i had fallen in love
with a woman i knew in my
real life,

and i knew it would be harder
to keep my secret;

but i was afraid to tell them
who i truly was
because i had seen how their
children had bullied the one openly
gay boy on my bus until he
took his own life in the name of God—

i was afraid of their judgment,
and losing their love;

but if someone expects you to forget who
you are or swallow down pieces of yourself
is their love truly yours? love shouldn’t
feel like a prison, love shouldn’t hurt you;

and so i have decided to fall in love with
myself and this rainbow heart of mine—

i am done swallowing myself down,

should you not like my hues and wildflowers
find another garden because you’re no longer
welcome in the garden of my heart.

that wasn’t a fatal flaw

a part of me always knew,
i think;
but i tried to ignore her voice

it was easy to do
when none of my crushes were attainable—

they were just pretty faces of
ladies i admired in television,
and none of them would ever know;

so why did anyone else have to?

my secret was safe or so i thought,
thought i could bury it deep inside
and forget so that no one could
shame me or guilt me for being who i was;

but my mind felt as if it might explode
with the pressure of the truth that i loved
a woman—

didn’t know how to reckon with that
knowledge or truth,

begged God to take the gay away;
even though that woman is no longer in my life
i still love her so i guess heaven said no—

guess that wasn’t a fatal flaw i was led to believe.

done humbling myself

humble yourselves,
they would tell us;

i won’t.

because i am magical,
i am wonderful, i am beautiful,
and i am feminine without
being fragile;

i am a being full of both love and light
but also darkness and thorns—

i will not apologize for this
nor will i bow down on my knees
for a god that expects me to
drag myself down in order to lift
Him up because i can praise someone
without lowering myself,
and putting myself down;

i will not worship a god that expects
perfection from me whilst also making me imperfect—

won’t worship a god who won’t love me
because sometimes i love women,
if i am to be rejected from this eden of yours
then perhaps i am to find another heaven;

i am queer and i don’t care what you think of that.

we should all be able to walk our paths

as i see the united states
pouring forth all of this hatred
and condemnation and all these
laws against trans and other queer

all i can think is how i never voted
to become a member of their theocracy;

i walked away from the church
because i didn’t feel welcome but it’s
harder to flee a country when you
don’t have the means to do so—

why do they care so much
about who loves who and who
has what genitalia?

people are worthy of respect regardless
of who they are, people need to pull
the planks from their own eyes instead of
worrying about the specks in the eyes
of others;

not everyone is part of your religion nor
does everyone want to be,
and we should all be able to walk our paths
in harmony;

us holding you accountable isn’t oppression
or bullying—it is an attempt to better you


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