Letters //

Dear Allies, Mackle-less

A letter from Charlie O’Grady.


Dear Allies,

I’m writing this open letter to you because every time we speak directly I come away feeling like a ‘bad queer’—an irony which I’m sure you will not appreciate at all. So from here on in I’m going to be as clear as I possibly can be.

Dear Allies,

Could you please just stop?

The more I experience of you the more I begin to realise that an Ally is a lot like an umbrella: everyone tells you they are good at protecting you, but whenever you use one you end up more drenched than you would have been in the first place, and left carrying around a cumbersome addendum which gets in everyone else’s way. I’ve never met an umbrella which didn’t turn inside out and give up at a good gust of wind—but I’ve also never seen an umbrella ask to be rewarded because it stood against something it was impervious to.

Dear Allies,

You get raincoat skin. You get a car, a roof with no holes, a heart free of mildew, and a thousand safe dry places where you can wait out the storm that we can’t, walking home in drenched and hole-ridden shoes.

You can’t stand under my umbrella (ella, ella) because we were only given one to share between us, made of letters and labels that leave no room to breathe (eh, eh, eh). This shit doesn’t work like it did for Mary Poppins, the only energy I have goes in bags that are not infinite, and if being a queer doesn’t mean I can fly then you don’t get a spoonful of sugar with this medicine.

(A metal pole and a sheet of nylon isn’t enough to keep out the hatred, the snide comments and the sideways glances unless it’s something I’m using to hit you.)

Dear Allies,

I’ve had enough of this cognitive Cissonance, this Str8 out ignorance, these conversations that go nowhere and make me feel like nobody because I’m too busy trying to explain to you why I should be “allowed” to hate the people who have made their power out of hating me.

How about we stop giving a shit about the umbrellas and start doing something about all this rain?

Dear Allies,

If I hear one more word about how Macklemore was brave to write Same Love, I’m gonna get mad.

Dear Allies,

I’m already mad. I’ve got a lot to be mad about. I’ve got 19 years in this body, and only 2 of knowing why I hated it, felt like a visitor to my own life. I’ve got 15 years knowing what I’m supposed to want and 6 as an alien in my living room.

I’ve got just six months of knowing exactly who I am, and you get lifetimes, so now I’m taking some the fuck back. You’ve got your history. You’ve got books of it. Stop scribbling your name over the stories of people who were only ever margin additions and footnotes. Everyone knows your name, it’s time you learned ours.

Dear Allies,

I ate your fucking cookies.

Charlie O’Grady