written by Morgan Lyons. Morgan (she/her) has a passion for writing poems depicting body respect, intersectional feminism and queerness. Her writing and art has been published in Rainbow Library Cork Anthology which was launched at West Cork Literary Festival 2023, Good Day Cork Protest Poetry, and Motley Magazine. She is a member of Rainbow Library Cork workshop where she collaborates with other queer artists, and is currently writing a fantasy novel full of found family. She has a BA in Spanish and Asian Studies from University College Cork, Ireland, and enjoys walking with her dog and hunting down sapphic YA books. 

Queer joy

It starts in a lockdown

Locked in a bedroom

An avalanche of books

Queer romance, queer fantasy

Queer characters

Characters like… me?

At first you settle for anything, any gay rep

Then you learn

So much more

More stories, more writers, more characters

It starts with the words

Printed on pages

Written just for you

‘Her girlfriend’

Her wife’

Her chosen family’

It starts with courage

To walk through the doors of your local queer centre

To realise bravery isn’t a show for other people

But for yourself

Your identity

Your heart

Queer courage is in your hands when you pick up a pen

In your mind when you stop filtering the words

In your eyes when you read your work, every stream of consciousness, every thought 

Every feeling you have mapped out with letters and stanzas

Every poem you allow to breathe outside your mind

Every character you allow to run outside of your heart

Queer courage is in your voice, even when it shakes, even when you stumble over your poems, words that feel unfamiliar spoken out loud, words that fit around your lips like a soothing balm

Queer takes its shape

On your mouth, in your fingers, in your notebook and in your artwork

Queer meets you where you are, comes to you in the paperbacks you hunted for in your small town bookshops

Comes to you in fiction, comes to you in friends

Comes to you in small groups, in workshops, in parades you were petrified to attend 

Scared of not belonging

Queer is the word which keeps you company, the word which whispers “yes”

Yes, you are enough

Queer joy is yours, individual and collective

Queer joy is sacred, magic, infinite

Queer joy is the reassurance of the 

Little rainbow flag

Tucked in a bookshelf

All year round.

Image: Stair by Ethan Golding

Ethan Golding (he/him) is a Graduate of DCU’s MA in Creative Writing. Embracing the space between the stage and the page, he has had work produced by DCU’s drama society, has been featured in The Chapter Catcher is a staff writer for The GOO Dublin.