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Talking With Activist and Poet Meggie Royer

Relationship Advice LGBT by Jasmine Ledesma

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

In high school, Meggie Royer used to spend her nights curled up beneath the covers reading the cataclysmic, wondrous poems of Nobel Prize-winning, writer, Tomas Transtromer. The worlds he created flooded her and brought worlds of glass, splitting wind and darkness through her mind. It was during this time she began to indulge in producing her own poems. From those nights she took away one vital lesson that has stayed with her until this day - “Objects are not only objects but portals to meaning.”

Royer is guided by those that came before her, writers who have paved the road she now takes. Among those writers include Natalie Goldberg, who encourages other writers to write what disturbs them, and survivor Chanel Miller who has claimed that for her to ensure her survival, she had to write. The resilience of the writers who influence her is a strong, tight ribbon seen throughout Royer’s work. Her poems typically focus on situations that are not usually given voice such as the experiences of mental illness, suicide, and violence.

When asked what power she believes writing holds, Royer said “Every poem changes the way we move about the world, how we think about ourselves and how we love and live with others. Writing has the power to uproot stories from our bodies and put them into action.”

Royer is not only an award-winning and prolific poet but an activist as well. For years and during her undergraduate career she has worked in the field of domestic violence, teaching crowds who might not have been aware of the intricacies of abuse. Additionally, she runs an amazing and important literary magazine called Persephone’s Daughters which exists as a platform for abuse survivors. It is set to release its seventh issue later this year.

With years of experience beneath her belt, Royer says that the term survivor has, “never referred to the same experience everyone reacts differently. There is no perfect survivor, no model response. There is no only “what you did to survive” and who you became after you survived.” When asked whether or not domestic violence looks and functions the same within same-sex couples as it does in heterosexual couples, Royer stated that although it looks similar, there are several exceptions.

Sometimes, abusive partners within LGBT+ relationships can utilize their partner's gender identity or sexual orientation for manipulative purposes such as threatening to or outing them to friends and family who might not be supportive. They may gaslight their partner using similar tactics. They may even threaten to involve the police to keep their partner from speaking out about the abuse.

Royer added, “Domestic violence is rooted in power, control, and oppression, and police are absolutely part of oppressive systems that have systematically harmed LGBT+ survivors.” Those who do reach out for help might get turned away from authorities based solely on homophobic or transphobic assumptions regarding their identity. The danger is incredibly real.

When asked about red flags or warning signs people should look out for when entering new relationships, Royer began by noting that every abusive relationship begins and looks different, no two are exactly alike. Though envy and control, to an excessive degree, are usually common, the abuser may want their partner to commit early on or might want them to keep away from friends more and more often. Royer says one of the most frequent reflections from survivors is, “They were so sweet and kind when we started dating.” She went on to note that, “Abusive partners can be very manipulative in terms of their public and private personas.”

Royer went on to say that “We can never truly end domestic violence without ending all forms of oppression,” and after reflecting upon her work, both her writing and activism, Royer says she has learned, “…even through the deepest depths of human depravity, there is still, always, hope”

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