In honor of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) pride month, here are seven spoken word artists who use their platform to educate, inspire and motivate both the members of the LGBTQ community and their allies.
1. "Dear Straight People" by Denice Frohman
"Dear straight people, you're the reason we stay in the closet, you're the reason we even have a closet. I don't like closets! But you made the living room an unshared space, now I'm feeling like a guest in my own house."
2. "Today" by Danez Smith
"Today, the diagnosis does not own me. Today, I am more than HIV positive. And my blood is just blood, and not poisoned or the river sticks or God-less... I have become a garden and what grows here is not dead."
3. "A Letter to the Girl I used to Be" by Ethan Smith
"In therapy, you said you wouldn't make it to twenty-one. On my twenty-first birthday, I thought about you. You were right."
4. "Unbuttoning My Boy Shirt" by Joy Young
"My life has felt like I'm doing the hokey pokey while everyone else just dances to the tune of what it means to be a man or a woman."
5. "Like Like" by Theresa Davis
"There are two kinds of like: there is like, and there is like like. Like is, 'I like you.' Like like, 'yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I like you.'"
6. "Maybe I Need You" by Andrea Gibson
"I loved you from our first date. At the batting cages, when I missed twenty-three balls in a row and you looked at me like I was a home-run in the 9th inning of the World Series. Now everytime I hear the word love, I think 'going... going...'"
7. "People You May Know" by Kevin Kantor
"When my rapist showed up under the 'People You May Know' tab on Facebook, it felt like the closest to a crime scene I'd ever been... No one comes running for boys who cry rape."