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Namitha Rathinappillai

@insolidaritynamitha

 

Namitha Rathinappillai (she/they) is a Tamil-Canadian published spoken word poet, organizer, and workshop facilitator. She is based in Ottawa, and is the first female and youngest director of Ottawa’s Urban Legends Poetry Collective (ULPC). You can find more at www.namitharathinappillai.com.

You Tell Me,

“God Hates Gays” and I Say, "Bitch, Which One?"

You tell me “God hates gays” 

and I say,

“Bitch, which one?”

You must have me mistaken because

I am as queer as my Gods are.

This polytheism is an orgy that does not end but reincarnates.

I am held by the sightings of a love like mine that I have found with my own hands

and in my own lovers.

I learn of the Koovagam festival,

in which my people know the story of what it is like to sacrifice to experience love before death all too well.

The Mahabharatha tells us that Aravan,

whose final wish as a soon to be sacrificed warrior,

was to die a married man,

and Krishna transitions to Mohini to be wed to Aravan.

When Aravan is sacrificed,

Mohini grieves for her husband before transforming back to Krishna

and my trans sisters see themselves in their gods.

They are shown their own origin story,

birthed from the womb of a trans god.

They are shown a story in which god herself tells them that it is a trans woman who fulfills her god’s wishes;

that it is a trans woman that lets her god feel happiness before death.

My Aravani sisters in this festival all marry Aravan, but must mourn him the next day like Mohini did.

Adorn themselves in funeral clothing as white as their oppressors,

they break their bangles and pound their chests to show how they grieve Aravan like Mohini did.

You tell me “God hates gays” 

and I say,

“Bitch, which one?”

You must have me mistaken because

I am as queer as my Gods are.

This polytheism is an orgy that does not end but reincarnates.

I am held by the sightings of a love like mine that I have found with my own hands

and in my own lovers.

I learn of the Koovagam festival,

in which my people know the story of what it is like to sacrifice to experience love before death all too well.

The Mahabharatha tells us that Aravan,

whose final wish as a soon to be sacrificed warrior,

was to die a married man,

and Krishna transitions to Mohini to be wed to Aravan.

When Aravan is sacrificed,

Mohini grieves for her husband before transforming back to Krishna

and my trans sisters see themselves in their gods.

They are shown their own origin story,

birthed from the womb of a trans god.

They are shown a story in which god herself tells them that it is a trans woman who fulfills her god’s wishes;

that it is a trans woman that lets her god feel happiness before death.

My Aravani sisters in this festival all marry Aravan, but must mourn him the next day like Mohini did.

Adorn themselves in funeral clothing as white as their oppressors,

they break their bangles and pound their chests to show how they grieve Aravan like Mohini did.

You tell me “God hates gays” 

and I say,

“Bitch, which one?”

You must have me mistaken because

I am as queer as my Gods are.

This polytheism is an orgy that does not end but reincarnates.

I am held by the sightings of a love like mine that I have found with my own hands

and in my own lovers.

I learn of the Koovagam festival,

in which my people know the story of what it is like to sacrifice to experience love before death all too well.

The Mahabharatha tells us that Aravan,

whose final wish as a soon to be sacrificed warrior,

was to die a married man,

and Krishna transitions to Mohini to be wed to Aravan.

When Aravan is sacrificed,

Mohini grieves for her husband before transforming back to Krishna

and my trans sisters see themselves in their gods.

They are shown their own origin story,

birthed from the womb of a trans god.

They are shown a story in which god herself tells them that it is a trans woman who fulfills her god’s wishes;

that it is a trans woman that lets her god feel happiness before death.

My Aravani sisters in this festival all marry Aravan, but must mourn him the next day like Mohini did.

Adorn themselves in funeral clothing as white as their oppressors,

they break their bangles and pound their chests to show how they grieve Aravan like Mohini did.

Audio file: 

You Tell Me, "God Hates Gays" and I Say, "Bitch, Which One?"Namitha Rathinappillai