I come from the slam community, a community of people drawn to the performance phenomena called a poetry slam, where poets are scored from 0 to 10 by random audience members based on their writing and performance. Most of you know this.

Maybe you also know that within the slam community, we have a saying, “the points are not the point, the poetry is the point.”

At this year’s Word on the Street, I intended to demonstrate this approach to slam poetry and did, by hitting a new record low score of 1.4 from one of the three judges. I don’t remember the other scores, I think they were 8s or 9s.

This same judge had scored my colleagues’ poems with queer and trans content with 2s, which inspired me to rise to the challenge of calling out the transphobia and homophobia of this judge with my gay-est poem, suitably titled I’m So Gay. I succeeded by scoring my lowest score yet.

The points are not the point here, but the fact that the content of my poem made someone so uncomfortable that they clearly didn’t want to hear it. I felt this was precisely a reason to share it, to counter homophobia.

This gay poem is still necessary because I’m still gay-ly living my gay life while hoping to make the world more comfortable for LGBTQ people to live in: https://youtu.be/Og5ULhlPrHk

About tanyapoet

Queer poet and educator committed to access and equity
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