My Freedom – a poem in response to the Orlando shooting

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There are no words to truly express how horrific the events of this weekend in Orlando were. 50 people are dead, more are in a critical condition. A safe space for LGBT individuals was violated and it is going to take a long time for the community to truly recover. In the process of recovering from this tragedy we can grow, become stronger, love even more.

This poem I wrote many months ago but have decided to revisit it in the light of the tragedy.

My freedom, I won’t ever forget my freedom.
For my freedom was hundreds of years in the making, and it’s still being made.
My freedom was in the dreams of all the boys and all the girls that thought they were broken, who damned themselves to hell before their God’s had a chance.
My freedom lived in prison cells, electroshock chairs, mental health registries, therapy couches, tears, torn diary pages, death.
My freedom is forged from the ashes of not long forgotten laws and legislation, systematic oppression.
My freedom is founded in riots and rebellion, words and walls that came tumbling down.
My freedom is a basic human right.
My freedom is from the lips of brave, brave people, with tired eyes, stitching banners into the tiny hours.
Throw me a megaphone, my words are my weapon!

My freedom is tainted.
Tainted by war and invasion, gentrification, putting up the bars on the windows of old gay pubs.
Tainted, because it’s all so much bigger than two brides or two grooms.
Tainted as long as there still is a ‘closet’ – except it never really was a ‘closet’ more of a prison cell.
Tainted whilst hate crime still kicks, and kicks hard.
Tainted whilst too many people die young and unloved and are buried with the wrong names above their heads.
Tainted every night young people spend on the street, kicked out by everything, even the charities aren’t so charitable it seems.
The fight isn’t done, give me a computer keyboard – mightier than the machine gun!

I am not truly free, until my brothers and sisters and others are free.
I’m not sure when that’ll be.
But it won’t be by chance – i’m pretty sure of that.

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