In honour of Pride Month, we are sharing a slam poem written by one of our students, Ashtin Hughes:

I am me

I want to be me.
I want to be
I want to be able to walk down the streets and not think or worry about things that could happen.
I want to look how I want to look;
act how I want to act and
like what and
who I like.
I want not only my body to change
but the minds
of others
who think differently.
I want people to look at me and see me for who I
not as “just a kid whose pretending” or “looking for attention”
Because that’s not true.
It never has been, nor will it ever be.
I want to be able to walk into my own home, the place where one should feel the most
love and have the most
no matter what, and I want to walk in there and
not be dead named or not be misgendered or
not be told
“it’s your friends”, “it’s a phase” or
“it’s the school brainwashing you.” Oh, I’m sorry, you must’ve seen all the posters around the school saying,
Choose to be trans and be hated daily!” Or
Choose to be gay and have your life in
danger if you go to specific places or tell specific people!” Do you even
hear yourself? I want to be able to
love myself
and treat myself as the most
important person in my life. But that’s not how my life works.
Every day I worry about my hair not being right,
my chest isn’t flat enough, if my
voice sounds too high, or I don’t
pass well.
Every day I look in the mirror and just want to let
tears that are clawing their way out,
finally stream down my face, as
dysphoria takes me over completely,
telling me things that I just can’t
help but believe. Yes, my friends see me when I’m down and try to cheer me up, but they don’t get it.
Less than 10% of the world’s population
understands what I
feel and knows nothing anyone says can
change those thought and feelings. Watching people not just
online but in person get
mentally and
emotionally abused or attacked just
because we’re a little different from the rest of you. Seeing
people along with myself, having scars and
bruises both physical and mental, a
constant reminder we’re different and even hated. In some parts of the world people like me could be
killed, just for being who they are. Now I know some are thinking or saying,
“oh that’s not true, you’re being over dramatic.”
Well, I have 3 numbers for you.
The night of the Pulse nightclub shooting, where
49 people lost their lives and
53 got hurt in some way. That’s 102 people
102 people that got shot,
killed, and
hurt because of their
sexuality and gender identity. Because of
one man. This one man who was
29 took a gun and shot over
100 people during the month where we get the most
support. This was the
deadliest attack against the LGBTQIA+ community in the United States. People saying
“Well, why do
they get an
entire month when the veterans who fought in the
war get one day?” If you
really cared and looked into it, you’d know they do have a month.
Its May.

Then we have people saying,
“God doesn’t accept you” or
“God didn’t make you like this.” then they go off saying how
“God accepts everyone”,
“God made your past, present and future”,
“God makes everyone equal” or my personal favorite,
“God made you, you and never makes mistakes.”
Well, you know what, you want to bring up religion in this,
fine. Since
God made my past, present and future,
God made me, me.
God made me how
God wanted me to be made.
God made me a loving and caring person.
God made me love animals and sports.
God made me a hard, devoted worker.
God made me strong and creative.
God made me so I can put up with all this stupid hate in this world.
God made me a person who has blond hair and blue eye with white skin and freckles.
God made me a person who is willing and
ready to fight for what is
right and
fight for what I believe in.
God made me the type of person who is
willing and
ready to fight to keep the people I
love safe.
God also made me
pansexual and
asexual. But that doesn’t
define who I am.

What I
do, how I
act and how I
treat others
defines me as a human more than just my
gender or my
sexuality. While yes that is a big part of me, I will
not hide, I’m more than that. I’m
more than the stereotypic
“Gay best-friend” or the
“Sweet innocent fem trans boy” people
love to fetishize. I am a
human. I am
I’m not going to
beg and
plead for you to love and
accept me,
hell I couldn’t care less, all I’m asking is that you be
human enough to respect me.
Use my name,
use my pronouns, is that
really so hard.

Yes, maybe one day I’ll end up with a girl and that’s fine.
Maybe one day I’ll end up with a guy, that’s fine.
Maybe one day I’ll end up with a person and that’s fine. Love is
love and no one has any
rights to tell
you otherwise or have
anything but love for you. People saying love is a
choice and you’re
choosing to love a man or
choosing to be straight you can’t
choose who you fall for. We all have that
one person that we knew we
shouldn’t like, whether it’s a
friend, a random person you just met or a
person you’ve known for a while, but oh my
gods, you just can’t help it. You
love the way their hair shines and flows in the wind. You
love their eyes, how they glisten in the sun and how you can get lost in them and know you’ll be completely safe. Their voice
fills your stomach with butterflies and makes your head
swirl with joy as they speak. Their
skin so soft to the touch, you
never want to let go. Their “
smile so white and bright,
 Apollo himself could never compete. The
fact you could just sit and talk for
hour on end, getting
lost in time. Not having a care in the
world what
day it is or what
time it is you just want
them. We all have that person, whether we want to
admit it or not. I may not
know who you’re thinking of, or the person that
first came to mind . . . but you do. It’s the same for everyone. So, who
cares if a
girl likes girls or if a
guy likes guys or if another
person not identifying or identifying with other
genders likes people like them, it doesn’t matter. People
deserve to be happy;
you deserve to be happy;
I deserve to be happy.
And in the wise words of our bisexual singer, Ms. Lady Gaga;
“Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.”
‘Cuz I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way.