Queer Youth: a poem by Holly Stamp

This poem was created during our Proud Words LGBTQ+ writing projects, which took place at Heaton Manor and Benfield Schools in 2017.


Queer Youth

When I cut my hair they said ‘you look gayer’

When he wore a pink shirt they called him ‘a fag’

So why is it that the length of your hair

Or the clothes that you wear

Determines your sexual preference

It just doesn’t seem fair

That I should be judged on your predetermined standards

Of what femininity is

Or what masculinity is

Or that we should have to choose just one

When I kissed a girl it was labelled ‘experimenting’

When he came out to his parents they called it ‘a phase’

It might not seem like much

But ‘just a phase’

Is a three word phrase

With destructive ways

That continually plays

In my mind and the minds of others like me

It’s like our lives have already been planned out for us

Plotted out on a graph titled ‘heteronormativity’

In which we’re born, get married, have kids, then die

But it only works if you’re straight?

And if you’re not then you’re ‘deviating from the norm’

But what is the norm?

And do I want it?

I know I used to

I used to wish I didn’t get butterflies when I held that girl’s hand

I used to wish I was just like every other grain of sand

In the sandpit

But that was then

And this is now

Now I am proud to be myself

Now I refuse to be put on the shelf

We are Queer Youth

And we are very much present.