Speak Up | Teen Ink

Speak Up MAG

December 23, 2014
By Reydar SILVER, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Reydar SILVER, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
7 articles 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Every storm runs out of rain"

If they could tell you with an ultrasound
if the child was to be like I am,
what would you do?
There would be a genocide
against my gender, my sexuality, my mind,
my identity.
Knowing this is more than hypothetical,
anger bleeds into words.

And I wonder if they had probed
through my brain before I was born
to see
what I would become,
would I even exist?
Would they have opted out of
the back roads my mental health would take
or the gender inside me that does not exist?

I’ve watched too many men
play transgender women,
watched a few too many shows steal trans identity
mottle it with their privileged hands
take it for their own like they have any right
to claim gender as an act.

I’ve watched too many people like me
consume another culture,
chew it like flavored wax and spit it back out
stripped of its autonomy and ready for
I’ve watched too many trans people
too many gay people
too many sick people
and too many black people
I know the beautiful people we exploit,
highlight, erase, and even kill
and I’ve seen love ignite fires for them
for me.
I’ve seen exploding pulsars
in news that you would rather ignore
and I’ve seen union
in people you are trying to disperse
and I’ve seen the way the world can
choose to ignore
or choose to listen
when we use our voices as loudly as possible.

People are universes of changing constellations
and we shouldn’t need
to justify our right to life;
I raise my voice because I am important
not in spite of my gender but because of it
and black people are important
not in spite of their skin color but because of it
and gay people are important
not in spite of their sexuality but because of it,

because I am tired of watching
lives erased from a blackboard
assembled by straight white men.

I raise my voice
Because human experience must be shared
and if no one speaks
we cannot be heard.

The author's comments:

This was written for a prompt about what motivates you to speak up. It’s meant to be in light of the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and it was very important to me that I stuck to that, but I’m white and I didn't want to act as though I had the right to write about suffering from racism. A fantastic quote I heard was “white privilege is being angry about these deaths, and not frightened for your life.” That was why I wanted to include other aspects of discrimination that I have felt myself and feel I have more of a right to expand upon (transphobia and homophobia), but I’m not trying to erase the importance of these events centering around race and I hope it doesn't seem that way.

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This article has 4 comments.

on Sep. 30 2015 at 9:30 am
Leigh116 PLATINUM, Easley, South Carolina
41 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We're all mad here." -Alice in Wonderland

This is so inspiring! You really captured emotion in this piece.

on Apr. 18 2015 at 7:52 pm
AllSoPlayfulWhenYouDemonize BRONZE, Richmond, Virginia
3 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Our passion is our strength."
-Billie Joe Armstrong

Wow! This was so amazing! The writing is lovely! Keep up the great work!

Reydar SILVER said...
on Jan. 7 2015 at 9:49 am
Reydar SILVER, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
7 articles 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Every storm runs out of rain"

thank you!

qanitah_elf said...
on Jan. 6 2015 at 7:25 pm
qanitah_elf, Seattle, Washington
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Awesome poem! :)