Think of the Children

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Cycling along the grand canal
I saw my first

I stared into the bright colours
Reflected faithfully in the still waters

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I almost forgot where I was going
Just stared
And wondered

Why isn’t everyone else staring?
Do you not see it too?

Do you not see the pretty poster
Use misinformation and fear mongering
In an attempt to deny me and so many others
Equal rights?

Do you not feel
That sense of acceptance
Gained bit by bit through hundreds of conversations
Slipping away like a mask?

Are you not transported back
To 15 years old
Biting your lip
Scratching at yourself,
Heart racing,
Trembling,
Telling your friend your secret?

Tell me you see it too
Tell me you’re holding back tears too

Passing my old school
Students exit the gates
To see new posters
Explaining to them
That they are not equal
And don’t need to be treated as such,
Think of the children

How do they bear springs in their steps?
Am I looking the wrong way?
Have I missed the kid
Who sits in class hearing
“Faggot!”
“That’s so gay”
And no matter how many times they hear
“It’s not offensive, it’s not personal”
It feels that way
But nobody needs to know how much.
Think of the children

With LGBTQ+ youth more likely to
Drop out of school,
Self-harm,
Commit suicide
How are they to feel loved
When they can’t find recognition
When they can’t dream of a wedding
When they can’t hold hands without fear
Tell me you see it too

How are they to feel when I
Age 20,
Out to most at least 4 years,
With the best of friends,
An accepting family,
And a university that supports my rights
Feel close to tears at each lie, each pamphlet, each poster, each speaker?

This is not a case of thick skin,
Think of the children

They can go ahead,
Bombard counselling services
And increase suicide rates
So that we will finally
Think of the children

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