In celebration of Manchester Pride 2023, Phil Harper – a research student based in our Graduate School – share’s poetry they’ve written based on their doctorate which currently looks at care staff’s understanding of the needs of non-binary individuals with dementia. 

My drag name is Philli (They/Them). I am a drag activist who loves to perform poetry and lip-sync mixes based on lived experience and my research.

Old, Queer and Fine.

Identities change, fluid, adaptive and moving.

When you get older do you stay the same?

We always have needs and are deserving of loving

They know who They are even if they can’t always remember their name.

He, She, it doesn’t work for all

Heteronormative assumptions are all so common.

They once led a protest, how the mighty do fall.

Remember the person, that must never be forgotten!

Trauma, loss and pain was felt by many

Bad memories and reminiscence is how they now spend their time.

Let celebrate and live in the now, this century

Now fight for a future, where we can be old, queer and fine.

Old queer and fine was created in direct response to my early reading and research around LGBTQIA+ ageing and dementia. It particularly focuses on the diversity of identity, especially it’s fluid nature, experiences of dementia, and erasure that often comes with age. 

Wasted Time

Delaying the inevitable, fearing coming out.

Societal attitudes that make it so hostile and worrisome

So much damage is done, ourselves we start to self-doubt

Wasted time and forgotten joy is the unfortunate outcome.

Education and understanding is at all not hard.

Negative language and hate is all so common.

Sacred identities and existence, for the future, we must safeguard.

Remember the past, especially those who have fallen.

Emerging sadness and morning youth as we get older.

Back into the closet, falling into obscurity.

Worries and needs commonly get a cold shoulder.

Fear of loneliness and solitude damages queer security.

We must plan for the future, all eventualities considered.

Live in the now, make memories that must not be forgotten.

Listen to the people of the past, make them feel herd.

We must fight for a time where nobody feels downtrodden.

Wasted time was created after many discussions with queer, especially trans individuals who discussed their fears and experiences of ageing. The key themes are: how they wish they came out earlier, scared of their identity being erased, fearful of loneliness and also awareness of the lack of support the community has around ageing. 

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