How to Write Your First Queer Love Letter
First you will be overwhelmed with affection, and you won’t know where to put it—whether you
should hold it close or trod upon it or risk, oh the risk, letting your love be seen. You’ll choke on
it; say it a thousand different ways without ever saying it at all. This reticence is your armor; this
truth is your arrow twitching to pierce its target.
You will wonder, again and again, if this is folly, if reality can possibly take this shape, if it’s all
worth—but yes, it is. You are not capable of doubting what you know to be true. Every stinging
sustained glare and whispered hour and shivering unknown is worth it; is worth them.
You won’t write about some things: the law, your parents, what is to come. Not writing will be
louder than writing, because in this love you don’t get to choose what is heard. You’ll know, and
they’ll know, and you’ll write above it all.
Instead, you might tease of tongues and caresses and mornings made old by your insistence on
laying just a little while longer, so safe and quiet and grown as you are. You grant
them—yourself—this reprieve like a prayer to a god you still believe in but no longer understand
You will write long past the point when you have anything further to say, because how could you
stop? Each period a tiny finality that you fear and defy, inky and small and limiting where you
want to see refractions arced across the sky, a proclamation no one can stifle or comprehend yet
you, you know it is true, you know that your letter contains the generations whose loved passed
in this same fashion, punctuated and sealed behind envelope flaps, save only for the sacred
moments in shadowed alleys and under blanket corners when these sentiments were permitted
oxygen. You love as we have loved before and will love again and you will express it, shout it, in
tiny script on cheap paper under shitty light bulbs if only to claim yourself, your place, your right
to love and love and love.
Your words will linger. You will not finish, but close, for this isn’t yours alone but la votre,
words shared and targeted and limitless and overwhelming. You will write, I love you, and you
will mean it more than you can bear.
Gwyneth Findlay is a writer and editor living in the northeast of Scotland.