“Queer(in) Love” by Bel South

I remember when you told me that Queer Love has less to do with the sexual orientation or gender representation of who we fuck, and everything to do with naming and confronting the power between us.

From the way we were brought up,

I grew up in a working class home, an exiled African in east London.
You, close-knit Clare Estate Durbs.

Both our parents’ breaking love laws, state-sanctioned and imaginary.

I went to a private school, racket-swinging choir-singing and ponytailed.
You, a government school karate kid.

Our mothers forging feminist paths, our fathers’ long dead but loving.

And on Sunday mornings we both still like baked beans on toast.

to how the world reads our bodies,

You tell me I am Amazonian and you want to climb my length.
The world tells you that you look like a boy and can’t go into the women’s bathroom.

I tell you I desire your soft butch with a hint of feminine masculinity.
The world tells me and my long hair that I should marry a nice young man.

to the systems of power and structures of dis-empower that bind us.

The penis patriarchy is real,
it seeps into our pleasure, infiltrates our bed.

They tell us that sex equals penetration.
And you, the boldest of gold stars, haven’t even kissed a boy, are found wanting.

No matter how head over heels in love we are, the world still bleeds its way
onto our tongues
our hands
our skin.

Queering love was the moment we realised we were all this, and so much more.

Bel South is co-curator of Dark Juices & Afrodisiacs—a queer erotica anthology for African women, in collaboration with HOLAAfrica! an online Pan Africanist feminist hub. She dabbles in queer feminist blogging, amusing herself reading, writing and publishing queer literature focusing on love, pleasure, and power. With a background ranging from human rights law, to business, from academia to the arts; her varied experience and interests have allowed her to play with new ways to connect seemingly disparate worlds, using social justice as a linchpin. She enjoys dream-weaving with people and organisations working to build reflexive and more vibrant worlds.

Twitter: @south_bel

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