[written for the Kansas City Interfaith Pride service 2014-06-18]
[potentially triggering themes include: suicide, drug use, sex work, murder, and various kinds of shame-fueled self-destructive behavior. And if any of that is too heavy for you to read about right now, know that this is for you, too. Especially for you.]
A Litany of Binding and Loosing
This is for you.
This is for you when you looked in the mirror with loathing.
This is for you when people in power sensed your pain
and used it to hurt you.
This is for you when you hid your true name in the back of your closet
with your shoes and your dresses and your powder compact.
This is for you still living
behind your picket fence.
This is for you bleaching your skin and straightening your hair.
This is for the bone-deep blush
when strangers, colleagues, family, lovers
cut you with humiliating slurs.
This is for you whispering euphemisms,
lighting a match and searching
in the dark
Many: we bind up your shame and let loose your pride.
This is for you when you damaged your lungs, binding with ACE bandages.
This is for you barebacking and bug-chasing.
This is for you refusing to be tested for HIV.
This is for you downing uppers and booze
This is for you when you knew
that only johns would want to touch you
This is for you when you knew
that you'd never marry.
This is for you with a knife in your hand
with a gun to your temple
at the end of a bridge
This is for you every time you make choices
Like you have no future.
And this is for our siblings
who didn't make it this far.
Many: we bind up your despair and let loose your hope.
This is for you, denied hormones
by insurance companies, doctors, therapists
every institution who knew you only as an illness.
This is for you, unemployed because you came to interviews dressed up as yourself,
and you eliding for your co-workers the genders of your spouse,
and you fired because of who you married.
This is for you homeless
because you're denied housing,
This is for you, named unfit to parent.
This is for you imprisoned for defending yourself.
This is for you, Sylvia, and for you, Marsha,
rejected by the movement you incited.
This is for you, my trans sisters, especially for you
for every time the rest of us refused to name you
and sold your rights in exchange for
broken promises that we'd be given ours.
And this is for you when you're dead
and your murderers walk free.
Many: we bind up all forms of oppression and let loose your justice.
And this is for you, too,
beribboned in rainbows and dancing your truth
radiant on your wedding day,
glittering at Missie B's,
splendidly strong and courageously meek.
This is for you working for a pittance at nonprofits
giving voice to lost stories
and lifting strangers into
your heart's tomorrow.
Many: we bind up your apathy and indifference, your hurt and your exhaustion, your painful past and uncertain future, and we let you loose to heal all that is broken in your heart, in your community, in our world.