When she speaks, the penny bomb drops,

When she decides to say #MeToo #TimesUp

When she remembers, but doesn’t voice it out loud,

When the Ace woman speaks and says ‘Don’t touch me there’,

When the Bi woman speaks and says ‘Actually I’m happily married’,

When the drag queen speaks and says ‘stop bothering me’

It isn’t a challenge, a threat to your identity,

She’s telling you her boundaries.

They are not up for negotiation,

negation, conquering, obliteration,

her body is not your inclusive space.

She doesn’t need your arrogant attempt at re-education.


When she speaks, the penny bomb drops.


For every time a woman is solely identified by her relationship status or statistics,

Every time a woman is forced into marriage,

Every time a woman is correctively raped,

Every time femininity is narrowly defined as soft, delicate or dainty,

Every time a court rules in favour of a perpetrator.


We lose a piece of our collective voice.

Of ourselves.

And the penny bomb doesn’t detonate,

doesn’t chip away to enable different thinking.


The girl, ignored unless athletically gifted,

unrealistically lifted as an Olympic gymnast,

pushed to edges of achievement,

told to excel and not to questions or answer back,

propelled and coached, touched, twisted and isolated until

she’s given a stand and asked

“Did what happened to your teammate happen to you too?”

When she speaks, the penny bomb drops.


When the ‘unconscious intoxicated woman’

read her own statement out after sentencing,

her attacker excused, a sad figure caught up in

the indifference of campus drinking culture,

losing his swimming scholarship

his fathers plaintive defence.

He takes the stand “of course she consented,

I’ll speak for her, she doesn’t remember.”

When she takes the opportunity to speak

The penny bomb drops.


Trans woman of colour, your mother, your lover,

Violence cuts her voice, so when she speaks it’s in silence.

Her own words are not in her obituary,

The deliberate use of her deadname,

There’s no ghost of shame

No sense of fear strangling her own thoughts,

When she speaks through silence,

The penny bomb drops.


Suzanne is an #ownvoices queer poet/writer from Derbyshire. She was a Writer in Residency working with LGBT+ communities in 2017, shortlisted for Little Tiger Groups ‘Pride’ Anthology and a #WriteNowLive workshop attendee in 2018.  She loves her wife, their grumpy cat and spoken word nights.  Twitter: @SFM_Writer