Powerful illustrated poem captures hopes for Ireland's queer future

As part of GCN's Queer Utopia series, we share a stunning and emotional team up between two incredible artists.

An illustration of a genderless alien creature
Image: Neave Alouf

Queer Utopia lives! As part of our series, GCN asked LGBTQ+ artists, activists, makers, thinkers and dreamers to make art based on their responses to that boldest of imaginings. And now we share the gorgeous poem and illustrations that try to capture that ideal queer future.

We asked Ollie Bell and Neave Alouf to dream the ideal future for our queer family; how would it look, sound, feel? What new roads will we travel? What new dreams will be planted in our heads?

Ollie is a non-binary trans activist and poet. They are the founder of Trans and Intersex Pride Dublin and are currently studying a masters in Community and Youth Work in Maynooth. Ollie described the evolution of their poem, Queer Future: “My inspiration for the poem came from my own activism and politics, especially the movements around Repeal and Marriage Equality.”

The insanely talented Neave created two stunning works directly influenced by Ollie’s beautiful words. We previously collaborated with Neave on our #GCNnewvoices series, where she responded to the words and opinions of young LGBTQ+ writers from across the country, adding life and colour to their thoughts. You can follow her incredible work on Instagram.

An illustration of a genderless alien creature

Queer Future

I open my eyes as hands drag me out,
Ashes around me rise up
As the roots entwined in my skin
Break out,
We have broken out from
Under the boot that has held us down,
The system of disfunction,
Profit put before lives,
Eyes glide against the landscape
And yes, now we can begin again.
A new world, a new future can be built.
Norms smashed through
Like all these closet doors,
Life can be beautiful,
Life will be freeing,
Where people’s lives are valued
More than bodies on a production line.
Where gender is felt in colours
More than just blue and pink.
Of gold, of green, of red.
Where bedsheets aren’t sewn
In threads of shame,
And heads aren’t lying on pillowcases
Wishing, hoping, wanting to be someone else
Someone deemed as ‘normal’,
Hands cusped tight as voices whisper in melancholic prayer,
Someone they want, someone that pleases them.
Guilt taught from a young age
From pews that spew hate
Masqueraded as love.
Lives taken for granted
Like my body was taken from the ground,
And I can feel it in my aching bones
The turning tides, the sea is rising
With every foot that marches forward,
We have done this before.
We have said yes twice before.
We have shouted for control over our own lives,
Our own bodies.

An illustration of a genderless alien creature

We have fought back,
Pulled, pushed, dragged,
Those still living with an outdated view
About who should have a say
In what we do with our bodies.
We have done this before
And we will do it again
And again and again and again
Until each closet door swings open without fear,
Without prejudice or discrimination
Until everyone can be pulled up
From the roots that hold us down.

This feature originally appeared in the January Issue of GSN, Issue 366.

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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