This moment is a benchmark.

Last Tuesday Rosie and I had the opportunity to check out The Out List at the NYC premiere – it was great!

I was honored and pleased to be part of a human tapestry of stories that tell the stories of LGBTQ Americans.
And there are many more that need to be told – that is certain.

The next day, I woke up to a sobering reality (uhh, a little late here Wazina) that the documentary would be seen not just by people in my circle or just the folks at the premiere… but by people all over. And more than that, it would be viewed by people who, let’s put on pause the part about never having met someone (out) about a sexual orientation other than hetero – they may have never interacted with a black person before and in my case, a Muslim or an Afghan person. 

I mean, really, that is possible.

It boggles my mind and really, it doesn’t at all either.
The limited caricatures of us (whoever we are) on CNN or Fox News… or whatever a person’s source may be all they have to go with. We cannot let that be. We must alter realities to match the truth!

I’ve been remarking with Laura Marie (or LoMo) that there is a need for an Out List in 2013.
And then, I am reminded that there is a need.

…on Tuesday night (June 18th) I started scribbling this down before the premiere. I wanted to elaborate, work on it more/differently but I figured I should get it out because I’ll just keep sitting on it:

tonight is a benchmark
in our collective struggle
striving & thriving

because an Out List is still necessary.

a point for me
a plus
for the parts of me that are palatable,

We need a ___ List
because brown people darker than me
more Muslim than me
get looked at stone cold and hard.

because there are men behind walls who look like them
and having nothing to do with them

are behind gates with no end in sight.
with no one to look warmly and lovingly their way

please don’t forget what a loving smile feels like.

peoples living out sentences that have never been issued
within false borders
so that we
in new york city/baghdad/istanbul/west bank/chicago/-istan
are still enemy:

surveillanced  as enemy
internalized as enemy.

this moment is a benchmark.
With this said, I will say, I am proud and I am not done.


preparing for exile

when preparing for exile
I remind myself that
this march is in
my bones.
flight is muscle memory
and fight is inherited.

this diaspora
is born of a new breath.
humility and tenderness
masks pride and righteousness

calling for my                       departure.

when preparing for exile
we were conceived on the move.
born into the reluctant memories
decorating new homes.

when preparing for exile,
what do you pack?

file old memories how and where?

in exile,
we wait for later
to return ourselves to each other

bodies together in soil.

if in our shared living breath
there is no space for us to breathe
honest truths
how  in quiet side by side
can I find you again?

when we share buried eternity
an endless chatter:
on the lives we loved and opportunities missed.

why wait that long?
why must I want that long.

There’s so much I’m anticipating with Thursday’s premiere of The Out List documentary – life as a live wire.
I fear what it could mean for my family and loved ones: judgment, sadness, shame, upset, disappointment and possibility for knowing one another wholly.

I am almost done with a letter to my parents. I feel foolish for having waited this long – and I just hope I get to them before anyone else does. I would hate myself (even more) if that were the case. And, I also didn’t want them to anticipate the worst in the documentary if I told them too far in advance.

And mostly, when I am afraid, I am frozen and inactive.

Relief will be welcomed.