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14 Poems For LGBTQ Pride Month To Inspire & Inform

Take a moment to absorb these meaningful words.

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It doesn't take much for equal rights supporters to get pumped up about LGBTQ+ Pride Month, but not all of your inspiration has to come from parades and rainbow flags, in fact, there are so many other more powerful and important ways to show support. You can start by donating to an LGBTQ+ charity or picking up some of your favorite LGBTQ+ literature, like poems for LGBTQ+ Pride Month, which can motivate you to get out there and celebrate, make a difference, and become an activist for the LGBTQ+ community.

For hundreds of years, poems have been an outlet for those seeking to make a change, to vent their frustrations, and to share their stories. (Some authors to check out include Edgar Gomez, Swan Huntley, Jill Gutowitz, and Emme Lund, to name a few.) It's easy to ignore injustice when it's not happening directly to you, but pick up any of these 15 LGBTQ+ poems about Pride and you'll realize how important it is that the world continues to support this beautiful community. Reading the poets' words, feeling their heartache and anguish, and connecting with them through their words is the least you can do in your part as an activist for the LGBTQ+ community.


“Body Without the ‘D’” by Justice Ameer

Justice Ameer is a Black trans poet and an inaugural Feminine Empowerment Movement (FEM) Slam co-champion. “Body without the ‘d’” is about their experiences as a trans woman, and they talk about how they feel like their body isn’t meant for them. The double meaning with body and “boy” is clever and the acronym within the poem metaphorically speaks to the plights of a trans individual.

the bo’y wakes up

the bo’y looks at itself

the bo’y notices something missing

there is both too much and not enough flesh on the bo’y

the bo’y is covered in hair

what a hairy bo’y

some makes it look more like a bo’y

some makes it look more like a monster

the bo’y did not learn to shave from its father

so it taught itself how to graze its skin and cut things off

the bo’y cuts itself by accident

the blood reminds the bo’y it is a bo’y

reminds the bo’y how a bo’y bleeds

reminds the bo’y that not every bo’y bleeds

the bo’y talks to a girl about bleeding

she explains how this bo’y works

this bo’y is different from hers

bo’y has too much and not enough flesh to be her

the biology of a bo’y is just

bo’y will only ever be a bo’y

the bo’y is Black

so the bo’y is and will only ever be a bo’y

the bo’y couldn’t be a man if it tried

the bo’y tried

the bo’y feels empty

the bo’y feels like it will only ever be empty

the bo’y feels that it will never hold the weight of another bo’y inside of it

no matter how many ds fit inside the bo’y

the bo’y is a hollow facade

it attempts a convincing veneer

bo’y dresses — what hips on the bo’y

bo’y paints its face — what lips on the bo’y

bo’y adorns itself with labels written for lovelier frames

what a beautiful bo’y

still a bo’y

but a fierce bo’y now

a royal bo’y now

a bo’y worthy of being called queen

what a dazzling ruse

to turn a bo’y into a lie everyone loves to look at

the bo’y looks at itself

the bo’y sees all the gawking at its gloss

the bo’y hears all the masses asking for its missing

the bo’y offers all of its letters

— ‘ b ’ for the birth

— ‘ o ’ for the operation

— ‘ y ’ for the lack left in its genes

what this bo’y would abandon

for the risk of  being real

the bo’y is real

enough and too much

existing as its own erasure

— what an elusive d —

evading removal

avoiding recognition

leaving just a bo’y

that is never lost

but can’t be found


"Dear Gaybashers" by Jill McDonough


Written in 2014, “Dear Gaybashers” by Jill McDonough is a must-read for everybody, but especially those who think their taunts and jabs will scare off the LGBTQ+ community from living and loving their life. They are strong, they are united, and they couldn't care less what you think.

The night we got bashed we told Rusty how

they drove up, yelled QUEER, threw a hot dog, sped off.

Rusty: Now, is that gaybashing? Or

are they just calling you queer? Good point.

Josey pitied the fools: who buys a perfectly good pack of wieners

and drives around San Francisco chucking them at gays?

And who speeds off? Missing the point, the pleasure of the bash?

Dear bashers, you should have seen the hot dog hit my neck,

the scarf Josey sewed from antique silk kimonos: so gay. You

missed laughing at us, us confused, your raw hot dog on the ground.

Josey and Rusty and Bob make fun of the gaybashers, and I

wash my scarf in the sink. I use Woolite. We worry

about insurance, interest rates. Not hot dogs thrown from F-150s,

homophobic freaks. After the bashing, we used the ATM

in the sex shop next to Annie's Social Club, smiled at the kind

owner, his handlebar mustache. Astrud Gilberto sang tall and tan

and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema... and the dildos

gleamed from the walls, a hundred cheerful colors. In San Francisco

it rains hot dogs, pity-the-fool. Ass-sized penguins, c*ck after c*ck in

azure acrylic, butterscotch glass, anyone's flesh-tone, chrome.


“Gay Pride Weekend” by Brenda Shaughnessy

This LGBTQ+ poem by Brenda Shaughnessy touches on an experience she had with a lover and discusses how they’re brought together by their past traumas and how wonderful it is to be out, loud, and proud.

I forgot how lush and electrified

it was with you. The shaggy

fragrant zaps continually passing

back and forth, my fingertip

to your clavicle, or your wrist

rubbing mine to share gardenia

oil. We so purred like dragonflies

we kept the mosquitoes away

and the conversation was heavy,

mother-lacerated childhoods

and the sad way we’d both

been both ignored and touched

badly. Knowing that being

fierce and proud and out and

loud was just a bright new way

to be needy. Please listen to me, oh

what a buzz! you’re the only one

I can tell. Even with no secret,

I could come close to your ear

with my mouth and that was

ecstasy, too. We barely touched

each other, we didn’t have to

speak. The love we made leapt

to life like a cat in the space

between us (if there ever was

space between us), and looked

back at us through fog. Sure,

this was San Francisco, it was

often hard to see. But fog always

burned off, too, so we watched

this creature to see if it knew

what it was doing. It didn’t.


“The 17-Year-Old and the Gay Bar” by Danez Smith

Danez Smith’s LGBTQ+ poem about a 17-year-old in a gay bar tells the story of feeling like you belong, and feeling like they must be in heaven to have found others like them and to be accepted.

this gin-heavy heaven, blessed ground to think gay & mean we.

bless the fake id & the bouncer who knew

this need to be needed, to belong, to know how

a man taste full on vodka & free of sin. i know not which god to pray to.

i look to christ, i look to every mouth on the dance floor, i order

a whiskey coke, name it the blood of my new savior. he is just.

he begs me to dance, to marvel men with the


of hips i brought, he deems my mouth in some stranger’s mouth necessary.

bless that man’s mouth, the song we sway sloppy to, the beat, the bridge, the length

of his hand on my thigh & back & i know not which country i am of.

i want to live on his tongue, build a home of gospel & gayety

i want to raise a city behind his teeth for all boys of choirs & closets to refuge in.

i want my new god to look at the mecca i built him & call it damn good

or maybe i’m just tipsy & free for the first time, willing to worship anything i can taste.


"Whom You Love" by Joseph O. Legaspi


Nobody can write a love poem like Joseph O. Legaspi and this poem is no different. It doesn't matter which pronoun is used to describe your beloved, and Whom You Love proves that love is love, regardless of gender.

“Tell me whom you love, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Creole Proverb

The man whose throat blossoms with spicy chocolates

Tempers my ways of flurrying

Is my inner recesses surfacing

Paints the bedroom blue because he wants to carry me to the skies

Pear eater in the orchard

Possesses Whitmanesque urge & urgency

Boo Bear, the room turns orchestral

Crooked grin of ice cream persuasion

When I speak he bursts into seeds & religion

Poetry housed in a harmonica

Line dances with his awkward flair

Rare steaks, onion rings, Maker’s on the rocks

Once-a-boy pilfering grenadine

Nebraska, Nebraska, Nebraska

Wicked at the door of happiness

At a longed-for distance remains sharply crystalline

Fragments, but by day’s end assembled into joint narrative

Does not make me who I am, entirely

Heart like a fig, sliced

Peonies in a clear round vase, singing

A wisp, a gasp, sonorous stutter

Tuning fork deep in my belly, which is also a bell

Evening where there is no church but fire

Sparks, particles, chrysalis into memory

Moth, pod of enormous pleasure, fluttering about on a train

He knows I don’t need saving & rescues me anyhow

Our often-misunderstood kind of love is dangerous

Darling, fill my cup; the bird has come to roost


"Who Said It Was Simple" by Audre Lorde

As an African American writer, activist, feminist, and lesbian, Audre Lorde faced discrimination from many angles. In her poem “Who Said It Was Simple,” she mentions all of the injustices she faced, and how she wasn't sure which part of her would survive to see her entire self liberated.

There are so many roots to the tree of anger

that sometimes the branches shatter

before they bear.

Sitting in Nedicks

the women rally before they march

discussing the problematic girls

they hire to make them free.

An almost white counterman passes

a waiting brother to serve them first

and the ladies neither notice nor reject

the slighter pleasures of their slavery.

But I who am bound by my mirror

as well as my bed

see causes in colour

as well as sex

and sit here wondering

which me will survive

all these liberations.


"Queer" by Frank Bidart

Coming out may be a beautiful thing for the LGBT community, but it's not always easy as poet Frank Bidart describes in “Queer.” This poem is incredibly moving and is a huge eye-opener for those who have never struggled with accepting who they are.

Lie to yourself about this and you will

forever lie about everything.

Everybody already knows everything

so you can

lie to them. That’s what they want.

But lie to yourself, what you will

lose is yourself. Then you

turn into them.

For each gay kid whose adolescence

was America in the forties or fifties

the primary, the crucial


forever is coming out —

or not. Or not. Or not. Or not. Or not.

Involuted velleities of self-erasure

Quickly after my parents

died, I came out. Foundational narrative

designed to confer existence.

If I had managed to come out to my

mother, she would have blamed not me, but herself.

The door through which you were shoved out into the light

was self-loathing and terror

Thank you, terror!

You learned early that adults’ genteel

fantasies about human life

were not, for you, life. You think sex

is a knife

driven into you to teach you that.


"My Lover Is A Woman" by Pat Parker

The following is an excerpt from “My Lover Is a Woman” by Pat Parker and it is absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. The poem details the love of a woman and how it is so enriching and lovely that it drowns out the sounds of her family's disappointment and confusion.

my lover is a woman

& when i hold her

feel her warmth

i feel good

feel safe

then—i never think of

my family’s voices

never hear my sisters say

bulldaggers, queers, funny

come see us, but don’t

bring your friends

it’s ok with us,

but don’t tell mama

it’d break her heart

never feel my father

turn in his grave

never hear my mother cry

Lord, what kind of child is this?


"A Queerification" by Regie Cabico


Another excerpt, this piece from “A Queerification” preaches acceptance, identity, and that descriptions like 'queer' really don't mean anything in the bigger picture.

queer me

shift me

transgress me

tell my students i’m gay

tell chick fil a i’m queer

tell the new york times i’m straight

tell the mail man i’m a lesbian

tell american airlines

i don’t know what my gender is

like me

liking you

like summer blockbuster armrest dates

armrest cinematic love

elbow to forearm in the dark

humor me queerly

fill me with laughter

make me high with queer gas

decompress me from centuries of spanish inquisition

& self-righteous judgment


"Exclusively On Venus" by Trace Peterson

Here’s an excerpt from Trace Peterson's “Exclusively on Venus.” This poem will give you chills with its overwhelmingly lovely words and descriptions, proving that humans can't be forced to fit into any type of box.

Roses are red / violets are transsexual / welcome to womanhood / now get to work honey

Roses are performative / violets are biological / I have very sensitive breasts / and so do your breasts

Roses are biological / you have the nicest skin / I can’t stop kissing you / let’s read more nondualistic queer theory

Roses are fed up / with our binary fetishes / I f*cked my doctors / and stole all the medication to hide it in a cave and share it with other trans people

Roses have got me / up against the wall / kissing my neck / which is socially constructed to be a super hot strong feminist neck

Roses are violet / violets are roses / I really like you / I like you tube

Roses are born this way / violets have a lesbian streak / something about your dry sense of humor and our soft intertwined limbs / feels transcendently female

Roses are blue / violets are violet / roses are nonviolet / blue is bluenormative

Roses are from mars / violets had the whole surgery / setting up camp / exclusively on Venus


"I Am Not A Myth" by Matthew Hittinger

Matthew Hettinger has said that he wrote “I Am Not a Myth” in the voice of Marlene Deitrich who, according to a biography on Marilyn Monroe, found the lipstick trace on Marilyn's white mink "maddeningly erotic." Hettinger used her voice to write this poem and it is incredibly sexy.

Marlene Dietrich remembers the night of the Marilyn Monroe Productions press conference, New York City, January 1955

I wanted to be that trace of scarlet lipstick

when you arrived, tipsy, a bit chartreuse

a subdued platinum angel, a white mink

stole. I am at heart—Come up for a drink—

a gentleman. You, a question here to seduce,

a pink thought traced by scarlet lipstick

a deer drawn to a salt lick. I am the brick-

back, brick-thrown widow of a caboose.

I lift my black veil. I drop my black mink.

To the bird, flown—we toast with a clink.

You created '‘the girl.’“Their golden goose

is now a scarlet smudge.” Your lips stick

to the wine glass and all I can do is wink

out a song, the tricks of an aging chanteuse.

You call a cab and grab your white mink

while I play my saw, and all I can think

is I am not a myth a recluse who will recuse

you to remain a trace of scarlet lipstick

caught on the collar of a white mink.


"The Distant Moon" by Rafael Campo

If this excerpt from “The Distant Moon” doesn't make you want to cry, I'm not sure what will. The poem describes a doctor caring for a patient and according to the NYU School of Medicine's Literature Arts Medicine Database, the patient is suffering from AIDS. Both the doctor and the patient are the same age, both are gay, and the poem is an incredible look at the emotional attachment between the two men, both as patient and doctor, and as gay men.

One day, I drew his blood, and while I did

He laughed, and said I was his girlfriend now,

His blood-brother. “Vampire-slut," he cried,

“You’ll make me live forever!” Wrinkled brows

Were all I managed in reply. I know

I’m drowning in his blood, his purple blood.

I filled my seven tubes; the warmth was slow

To leave them, pressed inside my palm. I’m sad

Because he doesn’t see my face. Because

I can’t identify with him. I hate

The fact that he’s my age, and that across

My skin he’s there, my blood-brother, my mate.

He said I was too nice, and after all

If Jodie Foster was a lesbian,

Then doctors could be queer. Residual

Guilts tingled down my spine. “OK, I’m done,"

I said as I withdrew the needle from

His back, and pressed. The CSF was clear;

I never answered him. That spot was framed

In sterile, paper drapes. He was so near

Death, telling him seemed pointless. Then, he died.

Unrecognizable to anyone

But me, he left my needles deep inside

His joking heart. An autopsy was done.


"Dressing Down" by Kamilah Aisha Moon

No matter how many pride parades there are a year, there are still certain areas of the world where it's frowned upon and “Dressing Down” addresses this, specifically the south. It's pretty eye-opening, especially the lines like "the only way to be like daddy is to hate like him" and really puts into perspective the darkness many members of the LGBT community feel.

When you’re gay in Dixie,

you’re a clown of a desperate circus.

Sometimes the only way to be like daddy

is to hate like him—

hope your brothers laugh

instead of shoot,

wrap a confederate skirt around your waist.

You traded glamour for nasty tricks—

dethroning your mammy’s image for dollars

that will never cover so much debt,

unraveling years she lost

loving you for a living.


"The Lioness" by Adrienne Rich

I believe I saved the most powerful for last with “The Lioness.” I'm not a poem analyst by trade, but this one was so riveting and I feel as though the lioness is the person that has taught the poet that this country may feel oppressive, but it is for everybody. There are places you can go, regardless of what the world tells you, and you can thrive right here, no matter who you are or how you identify. So moving.

The scent of her beauty draws me to her place.

The desert stretches, edge from edge.

Rock. Silver grasses. Drinking-hole.

The starry sky.

The lioness pauses

in her back-and-forth pacing of three yards square

and looks at me. Her eyes

are truthful. They mirror rivers,

seacoasts, volcanoes, the warmth

of moon-bathed promontories.

Under her haunches’ golden hide

flows an innate, half-abnegated power.

Her walk

is bounded. Three square yards

encompass where she goes.

In country like this, I say, the problem is always

one of straying too far, not of staying

within bounds. There are caves,

high rocks, you don’t explore. Yet you know

they exist. Her proud, vulnerable head

sniffs toward them. It is her country, she

knows they exist.

I come towards her in the starlight.

I look into her eyes

as one who loves can look.

entering the space behind her eyeballs,

leaving myself outside.

So, at last, through her pupils.

I see what she is seeing:

between her and the river’s flood,

the volcano veiled in rainbow,

a pen that measures three yards square.

Lashed bars.

The cage.

The penance.

Let yourself absorb the words of these meaningful poems.

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