Why We Exist
YOUthRiot is one of the many programs at APN. It’s a creative writing program for LGBTQ2+ youth where they free their voice and speak their truth. Zane, was a typical 15 year old trans youth; shy, scared and suffering depression. They came to YOUthRiot in 2016. The week before the final presentation, Zane didn’t feel like they had anything to present, which is to say, they didn’t think they had anything to say. Minutes before the final presentation Zane said, “I want to do my piece”. The lights went down, Zane entered and began to recite their own poem, “Bathroom Blues”. Two lines in the nerves caused Zane to have to stop. They had forgotten the next line. Zane’s peer group leapt on stage, hugged Zane, breathed together and gave Zane the space to start over. The piece starts with Zane talking about the terror of going to the bathroom at school, facing the stares, invalidation, and the whispers that they are forced to endure. The poem ends with:
” I am more than just my genitals/I’m an artist, a poet, a student, a leader/A great son, a good friend/And I’m done with hating myself for being me!”
A five minute poem led to a ten minute standing ovation. Zane, who believed their story wasn’t important, changed the minds and hearts of 100 people who heard Zane’s truth and triumph.