A Love Letter to Queer, Christian Asians: Poetry by Lily Luo

A poem from Lily Luo.

This poem came out of the many conversations I’ve had, with friends of mine who were dealing with similar questions about their identities, with myself as I tried to reconcile all the different, vibrant, complex parts of my being, with those who were a bit older than me who had asked themselves the same questions, and with those younger than me who were starting to ask themselves their own questions. I wrote it as a love letter to them, to myself, and to anyone who ever finds themselves in the Borderlands, as Gloria Anzaldúa imagines them. Often it seems as though the world has so many tools to break us, but then I’m reminded–we have poetry.

Love Letter to all the Queer, Christian, Asians Who Have Come To Me For Advice: For Those Times I Can’t Be There To Hold Your Heart

(Italicized are from Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza and poetry by Rupi Kaur)


Breathe in

Breathe out

You are going to be okay


You deserve to live

In a place that not only tolerates

But celebrates all of you.


We think we have to choose

As if the world ever gave us easy decisions

As if the boundaries we think are set in stone

Have always been there,

Will always remain.


Why then would they invest so much

In protecting their fragile understandings of the self?

Why do I frighten you?

Who am I asking that to?

My mother?

My church?

My lover?


This is my home

this thin edge

of barbed wire.


How do you make a home

Out of a place that drives you wild?

How do you contain

The (r)evolutions playing out in your body?

Let me tell you a secret:

There is no way to contain it

It will always make you wild

The real task

Is embracing the savage reality of your existence


To recognize the beautiful


Clashing of cultures,

Creation of new worlds,

That you can be.


But let me backtrack:

Maybe you feel


Between a feeling and an action

Maybe all this

Feels more like destruction



There is a pain that can be productive

And one that destroys everything in its path


The struggle has always been inner

And we are asked to keep it that way

But what is the point

Of keeping your head buried in the sand

When they are beating your body

Up above?


You want it to stop.

You want the world to stop.

So you have a moment to understand

What it is that you want

But it will not.


It will not stop weaving

Cautionary tales out of your life

No matter how many times

You want to scream out

I am a person too


The first step

Is not to stop the world

That will come later



Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes

Which in turn come before changes in society

Nothing real happens

Unless it is first imagined by us


So what kind of reality can you imagine?

What kind of living

That is thriving and not surviving?


Living does not mean

Pushing the unacceptable parts of yourself

Into the shadows

Living does not mean

Putting all that we are

Into neat categories

Labeled by the same hand

That tells us

Time and time again

We should be grateful

To be allowed to exist


I am grateful

For my mother who loves me so intensely it hurts

For a God who is often used to contain me

For these books

That saved my sanity

Opened the locked places in me

Taught me first to survive

And then

How to soar


You see, the world is too beautiful

Not to be felt

You are too magnificent

Not to be shared

I cannot promise it will be easy

But remember—

since day one

you already had everything you needed within yourself

it’s the world that convinced you

you did not


Now you must start the

The enviable task

Of learning

Your own brilliance.


 Lily Luo is a community organizer in Boston, working with the Massachusetts Senior Action Council as part of a faith rooted social justice fellowship, Life Together. She recently graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Political Science and English. She is poet who writes about sexual assault, mental health, family, transformative justice, queer love, and being Asian American. She thinks Grace Lee Boggs and Gloria Anzaldúa are her spirit goddesses. 


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