Poem by Dane Kuttler:
1 - Learn to dance; it is your birthright and your heritage.
2 - Be proud of who you are, and we will be proud with you.
3 - If coming out to your parents is a stupid idea, for whatever reason, don't let us talk you into it.
Don't be swayed by our tshirts,
our cyberspace proclamations,
or our bullhorns - be smart.
If you live in a home with no doors,
don't set off the dynamite.
If you go to a school with more guns
don't paint yourself the target.
Staying in the closet does not make you a liar or a coward.
It is not your job to be the lone outpost
of unabashed queerdom, wherever you are.
You are only responsible for keeping yourself alive and sane,
and if that means coming out
despite broken teeth and bloodied fists - we wish you luck.
I've pretended to be
the roommate, the close friend
in front of my lovers' parents,
and I do not begrudge them an ounce of their survival.
Listen, little hero, we love our martyrs:
our Harvey Milks, our Matthew Shepherds,
our Tyler Clementis, our gunshots
and bridges and fences.
We are so good at mourning,
but our vigils only comfort the breathing.
We are not coming
to your snarling school, your ice-crusted home,
your barbeque-firework town.
We are waiting for you, little hero,
in our sleepless cities and villages
at the end of the rainbow.
The ordeal and the enemies are worth it,
we will tell you.
But we are not as brave
as we tell you to be.
My own grandmother loves me more
when I only tell half the truth.
I do not begrudge you your survival.
You have permission to take care of yourself,
whether that means chatrooms, or knife blades,
or secret closets of the clothes you want to wear.
4 - Stay alive. Stay sane.
You don't owe us