Amy Barlow Liberatore… stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz

Tag Archives: Queer

Before the poem, an announcement:  IT’S OFFICIAL!  I AM A TOAD!  The site where I spent most of April, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, invited me to be one of their circle of 20 poets.  I am extremely flattered and thrilled to be included in the Garden with so many wonderful poets.  Like Poets United, one must be invited to join, so that’s my BIG ANNOUNCEMENT for, like, the year!  Now, on we go…


She’s queer and
wants me to
refer to her as
gender queer,

I could do no less
than confess:
My generation has
problems with Queer,
hearing it said in
locker rooms and
school, in sports
and retorts spat at
the skinny boys.

‘Queer’ meant
wrong, bent.
Now it means
the whole LGBT
‘Queer’ has found

She told me that
I must embrace change,
dangerous as it seems.
She dreams of
a day when ‘Queer’
simply means
‘Not Straight.’


© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday and also to be found on my non-homophobic hangouts, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads and Poets United.  It’s a generational thing. I remember gay pride movements in the 70s and 80s, and the cry, “We’re Here! We’re Queer! Get Over It!” Then, the word was still used as a pejorative by straights and closeted LGBTQs. The new generation, those who remember coming home from school on 9/11 like we remember coming home from school the day Pres. Kennedy was shot, have taken that word back, flipped it like a coin, say it with pride.

And I say, “Good on them!” Peace, Amy


Queer. That word stops
folks from my generation
dead in their tracks.
We don’t say that word.

Always an insult, the word shouted
by football players before stuffing a
loafer-light boy into a wastebasket.

Not right. Wrong.
In Matthew Shepard’s case, dead wrong.
Tied-to-a-bumper wrong.

The word my daughter uses
in identifying her orientation.
She dresses boyish but loves women.

They’re here. Your accountant, your dentist,
your kid’s teacher (not the one with the
porn on their computer, either).

Homophobes use it to describe
boys other than their own sons, who
ship out in the Navy to prove they are “real men.”

Mom explained it when I was five.
No graphic descriptions of sex,
just, “Uncle John loves Uncle Tony.”

It’s simple.
People are people.
Half the sexual acts straight couples do
could get them arrested in Mississippi.

They’re here. Get over it.
They are committed couples.
They adopt kids straight couples don’t want.
They rehabilitate crack babies.
They are wonderful neighbors.
They shop; they pay taxes.
Some are slobs, some are fashionable.
Some drink wine, some drink beer.
Some go to church, some don’t.
They are human beings who are
capable of love, of compassion,
of snottiness, of loyalty.
They deserve life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness.

Just like you.
Just like me.
Just like everybody else.


© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter Q.

And no, that is not a picture of me.  It’s me in 20 years or so!