MYKKI BLANCO: I want a dyke for president

MYKKI BLANCO: I want a dyke for president

“I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils”. These are words published nearly 25 years ago by American artist and prominent Aids activist Zoe Leonard in her poem I Want A Dyke For President. In 2016, as we watch Hillary Clinton and, unbelievably, Donald Trump battle it out for control of America, as xenophobic politicians helped the United Kingdom leave the EU, as Russianbombs drop on Syria, the poem – that aggressively questions the violent banality of our elected politicians – remains as relevant and striking as ever.

Who better to read Leonard’s seminal call to arms than Mykki Blanco, a unique artist who truly embraces queerness, who through his art demands something different, something new? As Dazed celebrates its 25th birthday, we’re questioning freedom – who has access to it, does it still exist and if so, how is it obtained? The American Dream is the ultimate testament to a faux idea of freedom, the false notion that anybody is eligible to run the country, the “ideal by which equality of opportunity is available to any American”. The world feels on the precipice of genuine change, but there are still power structures and prejudices in place that need destroying.

Watch Mykki Blanco powerfully recite I Want A Dyke For President by Zoe Leonard in a new Dazed film directed by Adinah Dancyger.

“I want a dyke for president. I want a person with AIDS for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia. I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to AIDS, who still sees that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying. I want a president with no air-conditioning, a president who has stood in line at the clinic, at the DMV, at the welfare office, and has been unemployed and laid off and sexually harassed and gaybashed and deported. I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape. I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them. I want a Black woman for president. I want someone with bad teeth and an attitude, someone who has eaten that nasty hospital food, someone who crossdresses and has done drugs and been in therapy. I want someone who has committed civil disobedience. And I want to know why this isn’t possible. I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown. Always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker. Always a liar, always a thief, and never caught.”