Three Tilters share their most beloved,
personal, and downright underrated LGBTQ+
pop culture recommendations…
An ode to spoken word poetry
I remember the night I decided that I no longer needed to hide my sexuality.
It was freshers’ week at my university, and I was watching my friend perform a poem about their coming out experience at a spoken word poetry night. I listened intently to the words leaving their mouth; it was as if they were talking directly to me. I have never, to this day, been so moved and
Since then, I’ve been in love with the way poets manipulate words and articulate feelings. One metaphor can change your whole perspective.
Keith Jarrett’s A Gay Poem is up there as one of my favourite poems of all time. He speaks about being asked if he has a ‘gay poem’ and uses this as an opportunity to respond by talking to the poem as if it were a person – “Excuse me, poem, are you gay?”.
Keith brings to light some of the experiences many people from the LGBTQ+ community experience growing up. The line that I love the most is “The more I know it’s you, not me, / Whose morality should be called into question”.
The second poem I’d urge everyone to look at is Ethan Smith’s A Letter to the Girl I Used to Be. It takes the form of an apology letter where Ethan speaks openly, and with such emotion, about the process that he went through while transitioning. He apologises to his past self for what they had to go through during the process. You can’t help but feel overwhelmed with emotion at the rawness and vulnerability at the words being read: “I am sorry that this process is so slow and all you can do is wonder if you ever had a place. You did. You still do. Don’t forget that.”
I resonate with this poem a lot because I spent a lot of time questioning my own identity, but Ethan’s words also serve as a reminder that it’s a journey and, more importantly, that I’m not alone. So, this is my reminder to you, no matter what you’re going through, or how difficult it may be right now: You’re not alone.
Helena Reynolds, junior creative
Welcome To Night Vale
It’s a podcast that’s been running since 2012 and is set as a radio show, telling you about the goings ons in the fictional desert town of Night Vale. The thing is, it’s really weird. Think America’s NPR meets Twin Peaks.
Each episode is narrated by the radio host, Cecil Palmer, and features recurring segments like ‘The Weather’ (a different music track each episode), ‘A Word From Our Sponsors’ (fake ads from generally real-world companies), and ‘Cooking Stuff with Earl Harlan’ (Cecil’s childhood friend who was 19 years old for decades until he awoke middle-aged, a chef, and with a child).
Night Vale has something I love above everything else in the world; it has casually queer characters. That is, characters who are queer and that is part of them but it is not all of them and their story. They’re also radio presenters, sheriffs, scientists and zookeepers. Their stories are about their relationships, falling in and out of love, getting to know people, and trying to save the town from mega corps that want to take over and force worship of the smiling god.
For ages, I was upset that we didn’t get to see queer people being happy in the media. Then I realised that I just wanted a story where the fact they were queer wasn’t the story. It’s 2021. That shouldn’t be the story. People are queer – get over it. See what other stories there are to be told.
And remember: Stay out of the dog park, and don’t buy discount bloodstone circles! That can lead to locust storms, pus tornadoes and worse.
Sarah Stevens, head of development
A Home at the End of the World
The 1990 novel by Michael Cunningham takes a strong look at love, relationships and the essence of community within the LGBTQ+ community.
It follows three characters, who form an unlikely friendship/relationship in New York’s East Village neighbourhood, and examines how you can create your own family even if this is not by blood. It’s a theme that resonates a lot with LGBTQ+ people since the community is a family to all, even when your blood-related family does not wish to accept you.
The story, which was later adapted for the big screen, never shies away from the realities of life and growing up being queer. I read this book about 10 years ago and it helped me a lot with figuring out who I am, what community means, and the importance of having loyal and caring people around you.
I would recommend this book for anyone within or outside the LGBTQ+ community; life is messy, but this book shows a sweet side of this reality too, which anyone can identify with and relate to. And, most of all, it teaches that family is not what we are born into – it is what we make it.
Josh Hudson, junior developer