Happy Pride! Yes! Pride is about singing and dancing and screaming as much Mariah Carey as your vocal chords can allow. But more than that, Pride is about celebrating and honouring all the colorful and courageous people in your community. And this month, we’re chatting with a few of the Knixteens we are most proud of.
First up is Otter Jung-Allen, a genderqueer poet and performer from West Philadelphia. Let’s run through their credits: 2015 Brave New Voices World Champ, 2015 Liberty Unplugged Champ and last but not least—the 2016-17 Youth Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. Is there anything they can’t do? Nope, they are limitless! And we are so excited to catch up with them to chat about Pride.
How are you celebrating pride this month?
Spending time with my closest, cutest, queerest friends. I have no plans except to pay attention to the people I wish I could protect from all these dangerous, ugly systems. I'm full of love this pride month. I feel like a Care Bear.
How do you celebrate pride all year long?
I speak. I create. I remember. Nothing I do is unintentional, and as a non-binary person I am rarely given the space to act in any other way. I speak forward the names that are often forgotten by the brands that only want money out of pride month. I create stories and poetry that move trans people away from their grief, or toward as they require. I remember the Black transgender women that have founded the movement and fronted the protests. I pay homage and yell loudly. If nothing else, pride is volume.
Do you have any advice to your former self?
Be outward. Get your ears pierced. Kiss that girl. Stop singing so loud into the mic, you’ll break it. Write the poem about how lonely you are. Backward can still mean upward. Be complete in the sight of those you want to see you broken. Be patient with no one but yourself. Defiance. Thrive.
What’s your Pride anthem this year?
Here4Now by CJ Run. They're a nonbinary rapper and artist on the rise right now, and this is the titular song of their newest EP. My favorite lyric is "I heard your father the pastor doesn't want his daughter falling for somebody who could pass for son or daughter." They give us consistent nonconforming bops.
Thanks Otter! If you’d like to support them or read their work, check them out here. They post new poems and essays regularly! Check back into The Rag all month to keep celebrating!