Many were at the edge of their seats as they awaited the U.S. Supreme Court to hand down its decision on Proposition 8, California's same-sex marriage ban, and the Defense of Marriage Act, Wednesday morning.
June just happens to also mark LGBT Pride month and amid all of the politics, it’s important to remember just how far the community and its supporters have come, and how far we still need to go.
Same-sex marriage rights are the first step but it will not eradicate injustice, homophobia and transphobia, violence and discrimination — but in many ways, art can. So in celebration of what can be accomplished through art, through the connections made between people via positive creativity and conversation, here are six LGBT poets whose words and stories may just leave you stunned.
1. Andrea Gibson
Gibson is a well-known spoken word artist, but her poem “I Do” about marriage equality is a heart-wrenching, beautiful look at one long-term relationship at its very end. I have cried watching this … on more than one occasion.
2. Kit Yan
Yan is a Chinese American trans-man and spoken word artist, currently spitting verses from Brooklyn by way of Hawaii. Whether you’re queer or not, he crafts love poems that will make you catch your breath.
3. Emanuel Xavier
Xavier is a spoken word artist and community leader from Brooklyn. His poems are gritty, raw and very real; his experiences growing up as a gay Latino man in New York were rough and he found himself living on the streets at 16, hustling to get by. Unfortunately, his story is similar to many LGBT people, who find themselves without a home or family support after coming out (it is estimated 40% of homeless youth are queer). Don’t watch Xavier expecting rainbows.
4. Lauren Zuniga
I fell in love with Zuniga’s poetry some time ago after I heard her performance of “Submission,” which challenges how we define love, sex and gender. Her words are brilliant and she is a captivating performer.
5. Joanna Hoffman
When Hoffman performs, it’s clear and resounding. There isn’t much more to say: her verses are powerful, her stage presence big.
6. Denice Frohman
Frohman’s humorous, bittersweet letter to “straight people,” may be provocative but she speaks truths many of which LGBT people can relate.