Don't Be Yourself

I first wrote this piece after a personal experience at an interstate music festival late last year, where I was cornered by a drunk festival-goer and harrassed. Out of all the amazing strangers I met that day, he was the one who stuck in my memory. He kept on insisting I must be gay from the way I was dressed in a rainbow jumpsuit and hat. He then persisted that he set me up with his heterosexual friend nearby. I moved away quickly and never saw them again.

I performed this piece as a slam poem at my home crowd, Ruckus Brisbane, last year on a couple of separate occasions and loved the friendly, supportive reception each time. I wrote and performed it as a direct statement against the men in our culture who mask themselves as progressive and liberal-minded but are so close-minded and regressive in any given situation. You can’t really be yourself around these people because they’re not sure who or what they are themselves. They’ll try to mislabel you until their dying breath.

I hope every person who has ever verbally or physically harassed me or anyone based on how they dress somehow stumbles upon this artwork online. I hope they see it and learn from it.

By Sean West

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