Jesus at the Gay Bar

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

—Genesis 1:27

Jesus at the Gay Bar
By Jay Hulme

He’s here in the midst of it –
right at the centre of the dance floor,
robes hitched up to His knees
to make it easy to spin.

At some point in the evening
a boy will touch the hem of His robe
and beg to be healed, beg to be
anything other than this;

and He will reach His arms out,
sweat-damped, and weary from dance.
He’ll cup the boy’s face in His hand
and say,

      my beautiful child
there is nothing in this heart of yours
that ever needs to be healed.

About the Poem

I saw this posted on Wilson Cruz’s Instagram (@wcruz73), and it just grabbed my heart and nearly brought tears to my eyes. It is such a beautiful poem and a sentiment that we should all remember: “my beautiful child / there is nothing in this heart of yours / that ever needs to be healed.” Genesis 1:27 tells us, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” It does not say God created man in the image of other men or what other men want you to be. He said we were created in “His own image…male and female He created them.” It’s a beautiful thing to remember. No matter what others tell you that you should be, remember, you are who you are because God created you that way, whether that is gay or straight, cisgender or transgender, male or female, or any of the colors of the rainbow, God created you that way.

About the Poet

Jay Hulme is an award-winning transgender performance poet, speaker, and educator. Alongside his writing and regular performances, he teaches in schools, performs sensitivity reads and consults, and speaks at events and conferences on the importance of diversity in the media, and, more specifically, transgender inclusion and rights. In 2017 he gave a TED talk and was featured in Nationwide Building Society’s “Voices” advertising campaign, with him and his work appearing in both TV and radio adverts. 

In recent years Jay has worked alongside and/or consulted with Amnesty International, The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, Stop Funding Hate, and The Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards, among other groups, on inclusion and diversity in literature, especially YA and children’s literature, and has performed confidential inclusion and sensitivity reads for a number of large publishers, improving the quality and accuracy of transgender representation in a number of books.

Jay is currently Poet-in-Residence at ‘The Poet’s Church’, St Giles-in-the-Fields in Central London.

Writer

Jay performs his poetry across the country regularly, as both stand-alone sets, and as part of larger events. He occasionally writes essays as well as poetry, and his work has been published in a number of magazines and journals, as well as anthologies by both independent and well-known publishers, including Bloomsbury and the Ladybird imprint of Penguin Random House.

He has been focusing, most recently, on poetry for children and young adults, and the five-poet collection “Rising Stars”, of which he was a part, was Highly Commended in the 2018 CLiPPA awards – the UK’s biggest award for children’s poetry collections.

His most recent collection, “Clouds Cannot Cover Us” is aimed at teenagers, was published by Troika Books in October 2019, and has been nominated for the 2021 Carnegie Medal – ‘the UK’s oldest and best-loved children’s book award’ (their words).

Speaker

As a speaker, he has given a number of high-profile talks, almost all of which also included the performance of one or more of his poems. Most notably, he’s spoken at 2019’s London Book Fair, the 2018 Children’s Media Conference, and 2017’s TEDx Teen. He has also spoken in Parliament about trans rights, alongside Stonewall and PinkNews, and has worked with large and small companies on LGBT inclusion, as well as working with a number of NHS Hospital Trusts, giving talks and staff training focused on ensuring transgender patients are provided with dignity and adequate medical care.

Educator

As an educator, Jay has taught poetry to adults and children and has worked in libraries and a number of schools, primary and secondary, state and private, working alongside the curriculum to not just expand the pupils’ knowledge of poetry but to generate enthusiasm and excitement for a form that is so often seen as difficult and intimidating. Pupils often express how their perspective on poetry has changed, and their teachers report that their enthusiasm for and engagement with poetry remains long after their visits. Jay also teaches poetry to adults through lectures at universities and through workshops, at venues as varied as libraries and theatres, and at festival sites and pubs. He has also been the coach of the Durham University Slam Poetry Team since its first year. The team has, under his tutelage, won ‘Slam of the North’, and come third in ‘UniSlam’, the UK’s biggest team poetry slam competition.

Jay gained a BA (honours) degree in English Literature and Journalism in 2018, focusing, in his final year, on Victorian Sensation novels, and how they informed and reflected the morality and social mores of mid-19th century British society. He has also taken part in short training courses in order to develop his own practice and educational skills, including a course with the National Literacy Trust focused specifically on working with primary school students, and a course run by Pop-Up Projects and Historic Royal Palaces on the use of heritage sites in literary education and as stimuli for creative writing, something which is very much a passion of his.

Bio was taken from his website.

Website: https://jayhulme.com

Twitter: @JayHulmePoet

Instagram: @jayhulmepoet

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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