Literature Michael V. Smith Poetry

Handy Tips to Limit a Queer’s Chances of Being Gunned Down

Michael V. Smith


Strategy 1:

Stand in a group
on the street corner downtown
with a sign: Gay Hugs.

Give hugs.

Strategy 2:

Make more space for outsiders more outside than you.

Strategy 3:

Love our gay kids. Be kind-
ly queer to parents
in front of their children.

Strategy 4:

Organize more gay guerrilla
dance parties.

Strategy 5:

Don’t dismiss your queer
history of trauma. Don’t gloss
the fears we’ve stitched
to the underside
of your skin.

Hold your facts steady
on the focus of that trauma.

Strategy 6:

Dismantle all systems
which your white
hetero cis male
privilege preserves.

Enfranchise your opposites.
Don’t share the fruit
of your tree but recognize the tree
is not owned at all.

Strategy 7:

Invite your straight allies
to speak up. Call allies
to action. Charge allies
to be allies.

Strategy 8:

Steal the guns
from your families’ homes
while they’re out.

Strategy 9:

Release queer events
to Muslim Black Latinx communities
any and all racialized minorities
because #NotAllQueerPeople
are white.

Strategy 10:

Fuck gender.

Strategy 11:

Hold people to a high standard
of character, not appearances.

Strategy 12:

Empower women. Listen
to them at work. Vote
them into office because
fewer women kill.

Strategy 13:

Listen. When haters speak,
that is our call to listen.
Not to their rhetoric, but
what lies behind it. What
unconscious fuel
is firing that engine.

Strategy 14:

Befriend conservatives
so you can babysit
their children.

Strategy 15:

Invite friends to make
more queer strategies.


Michael V. Smith headshotMichael V. Smith is a writer, performer, and filmmaker who teaches in the interdisciplinary faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia in the Okanagan Valley. Winner of the inaugural Dayne Ogilvie Prize for Emerging LGBT Writers in Canada, his most recent book is a memoir of his escape from masculinity, My Body Is Yours, published by Arsenal Pulp Press and nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.