The Queer Elephant in the Room by Anneliese Palmer
*Plain text at the end of the artwork*
The Queer Elephant in the room is hard to miss.
Still, its presence is ignored at every hour, minute, and moment of the day. From sunrise to sunset as it exists between being seen and unseen. Existing in that in-between place.
The Queer Elephant takes a warm shower the morning, relaxes on the couch to watch their favorite show in the afternoon, sits at the table eating dinner in the evening, and goes to bed with the stars as their nightlight. Perfectly normal habits while it’s perfectly ignored by the ones they wish to see them at their innermost self.
At this point in the Queer Elephant’s life, they no longer hide themselves from the world after they had nervously made themselves known to it. But once they did make themselves known to the world, the Queer Elephant was met with words of:
“What’s the difference in choosing to be queer or a pedophile?”
“Aren't transwomen pretending to be women so they can sleep with men?”
“You’re just going through a phase. We all do.”
*insert Bible verse here*
“Should you really be using that word on your public profile?
“This gay stuff is all just a trend.”
The Queer Elephant listens and begins to feel a sense of misery as its identity is erased, ignored, criticized, and questioned.
Thus, the Queer Elephant in the room who is hard to miss but many try their hardest to do so (in hopes that they will drop the “queer” from their existence and go back to being a common elephant?), paint themselves to be what others want them to be and tries to follow rules they were never meant to follow, putting their true self in a cage, hiding away the key because they believe they will not be completely free while living someone else’s reality.
So they hide away in their room. For where else would they hide during a global pandemic that forces them between four walls or living not quite a lie, but not a truth, either.
Regardless of how they are addressed–or lack of– the Queer Elephant longs to share the joys and resilience and fears and hopes and love and strength of their identity. The Queer Elephant wants to see themselves on the television screen as characters being serious and silly and in love and evil and kind and mean and fearful and brave and normal and weird and just to be
And although there are many days where the Queer Elephant feels invisible or worse–perceived only the ways others want them to be– they know that who and how they see themselves will always remain. They will look in the mirror and repeat these words into their eyes, tired, but full of life and full of fight:
I am queer.
I am here.
I am not going anywhere.
Today* is May 17th, aka International Day Against Queerphobia. I’m writing the first draft of my inner thoughts as I sit with my family playing a game of spades. There is a brightly colored elephant in the room, and that elephant, is me.
*I started writing these thoughts and created the art on May 17th after discovering what that day's significance was.
© 2020. Anneliese Palmer. www.afroflower.com