If I reach the end of my life, and find my greatest sin was being white, what then?
Will I explain to God how it was part of being American?
It was an entrenched system.
It had more to do with inheritance than with decisions.
I care so little for the color of skin. But the weight of true sin,
that is a burden like no other. An anchor on a ship built to circle the world.
And if you never learn to recognize it, you never leave the harbor.
Too heavy to push off from this morbid coil, this meal we let spoil
into redemption soil, inherited toil, this life effort into death comfort, into oceans.
History so heavy it drags bottom. Measures how far we’ve not gotten.
Shows us the depth we are all so eager to stay on top of.
It makes for an awkward discussion, but the perfect poem.
Seeing society cripple itself so that it favors one leg over the other.
White people who are really beige, offwhite, often pink, rarely really white,
fostering fear and weakness and feigned innocence so that disparity
can be dropped like an anchor and stop progress pushing in the wind.
We all see round sails and current lines and a horizons frowning
they are so anxious to be pushed back further.
Yet we do not draw it up to drip above the water,
so our past has become a permanent tether.
We know history can not go away, but while we refuse to carry it,
at least we know where we stay. White in the United States.
But ships are not meant to stay anchored.
I am confident we were not either.
And I refuse to let my greatest sin be living complacently in white America.
I don’t know what afterlife waits for white Americans.
Though I am doubtful it will be a white heaven.
Which has been white historically, right?
White while it ousted brown.
White while it bought up black and broke it down.
White while it tore through textures of white.
White bleeding purple reading yellow
where it prefers seeing taupe.
White America is not a title or a phrase to some people.
It is a redundancy.
Straight people are just as transgender than transgendered people. This is an issue with perception and vocabulary, and how they affect our self-determined reality. You do not have to understand, agree with, or accept what it means to be transgender, to realize sexual privacy is a basic human right of all people. I know, it’s confusing, all these movements, finally putting who they are and how they live out there in front of you to see. But think about it, a man holding the hand of the woman he loves is not seen as an invitation for their sex lives and preferences to be publicized. You want equal respect? Well, you can’t handle equal respect. So I’m asking, as a temporary measure, at least, for the equality of shame. You should be ashamed for discussing someone’s sexuality out loud and openly without them consenting. You should take the value of your own shame, and assume it is similar to the same shame felt by others. Who do not want their personal, biological, anatomical, emotional, or sexual reality discussed like the weather, or a recent football game, or a financial liability.
Yes, a healthy level of shame, that should do.
Just enough to cover us for now.
And still put so much shame on you.
These words. This string of mismatched letters. LGBTQ. And what do
any of them have to do with me and you, I don’t know. Is it high heel shoes?
Is it Saint Laurent on a man’s ruby lips? Is it who you choose to be with?
Because straight people have worn all those choices.
Heterosexuality speaks with all these voices.
But we do not think to call them anything other than human. This prefix, trans.
Unless you’re transhuman, who cares? Have you ever undergone pain to be different,
not the same, to look at in a mirror who you see in your brain.
If it helps one and does not hurt two, what is it to you?
I do not take for granted that as long as I stay panted
nobody cares what is between my legs.
I do not take for granted that as long as their name isn’t Brandon
no one really worries who I’m with.
Lesbian. Gay. Bisexual. Transgender. Questioning. Nobody calls me straight.
Nobody refers to my anatomy when they discuss my sexuality.
So if our goal is pure equality, why are we labeling anyone
based on information it is not appropriate for us to own.
Words. And these words give shallow-minded people an excuse to dehumanize.
To participate in uncomfortable conversations that might not happen otherwise.
This is not a reference to the color of your skin.
This is not bias based on the historical and cultural relevance
and transitions of your people. I’m sorry if this comes as a shock,
but you can be a straight man, and not carry a cock.
You can be a woman, in my mind,
and I never need to know
what you left behind.
It is inappropriate. It is offensive. Disrespectful, and borderline mad.
Discussing someone’s sexuality like that. It is an epidemic in this country,
looking at people sexually, completely disregarding if they invited us to or not.
It is the seed of assault. It is the germ that breeds sexual violence and hurtful fetishism.
We don’t have to support our LGBTQ’s.
We don’t accept people’s differences because it is right to do.
The definition of freedom means we do not have these conversations.
If you’re hurting nobody while helping yourself, you’re golden.
You’re just like the rest of us. Pure human.
And if we asked them these questions,
we would be much more aware of all the queer stuff straight people do.
But we don’t get asked. Because that string of letters. It doesn’t include S.