Poet Jasmine Gardosi tackles censorship and identity on film

Poet Jasmine Gardosi was commissioned by the Bronte Parsonage Museum to create a poem inspired by the life Anne Bronte, in celebration of her bicentenary in 2020. 

Taken aback when discovering that Anne was not the meek 'other' sister she is sometimes assumed to be, Jasmine was inspired by Anne's fiery and outspoken nature. As Jasmine continued to research, she learnt that Anne's original texts were near but all edited, abridged, or mis-interpreted 
 
All this time, after thinking I’d read the full voice of Anne, I’d realised that I, too, had ignorantly been reading the voice of Anne’s
 editors, rather than purely Anne’s voice herself. ‘Complete and unabridged’? Like hell it was. What else had I missed of Anne, without realising?

It made me think - what other stories do we get taken in by, with no idea of how badly it’s been distorted by its editors? What other accounts have been recontextualised to sound insipid, or deluded, or sensationalised? How many other truths have we lost?… and if we know this is going to happen, and we can’t stop it, why bother saying the things we want to say?

Jasmine has used this suppression and re-framing as her inspiration for a new poem and film, ‘Say It Anyway’, working alongside filmmaker Adrian B. Earle.  Produced to tie in with the 200th anniversary of Anne’s birth in 2020 but waylaid by the pandemic, it is now being released for the first time on 17th January, Anne’s birth date.  

You can watch Jasmine's film below. Make sure you have sound on. 
As the film's subtitles are different to the words spoken by Jasmine, please click 'read more' to reveal a transcript of the film. 


 


 
 

VOICE

SUBTITLES
Black = same as voice

Green = different to voice

If I tell the truth - my truth -

are they going to edit what I say?

 

You know, like… take me out of context?

Or misquote me?

Or they could just say I’m confused.

 

So is it really worth saying?

 

What if they mangle me in the headlines?

 

I’ve formed my story from the years of my life

and they could call it an entire mistake.

I could come out, and they might stuff me back in.

They could say it’s a phase

Or a craz-

- wait.

 

Wait. That’s… that’s not what I said.

 

That’s not what I said.

 

No no, really

I didn’t say that

 

Did I?

 

They’ll fight us in the subtitles.

And summaries.

And by-lines.

And blurbs.

 

They’ll always pick the bits they want to broadcast

 

or just cross out our words

 

They say we stuttered.

Stammered. Stumbled.

 

So is it ever worth saying?

 

They’ll only suck the oxygen from our vowels

 

Make us vacuum-packed

until we fit into a pocket-sized volume

a quiet one

compact

 

Until, silently, we start to edit ourselves.

Anticipate what they….

Cut ourselves off before we’ve…

 

We don’t want to take up space

 

So why say it anyway?

 

They’ve made our rights a foreign language

and then chose to lose us in translation

 

or they called it vulgar. Not fit for publication.

 

They asked for our opinion

then ignored the consultation.

 

But they talk about being censored

after Section 28.

We say seven letters of the alphabet

and they take most of them away.

They ‘don’t ask’ so we ‘won’t tell’

but they let the slurs slide.

They claim they’re being cancelled

then cancel all our rights.

 

They read transphobic articles and then copy/paste.

They cry about being silenced then go on TV the next day.

 

So say it anyway.

 

We give voice to the conversations that didn’t exist before.

 

We make new language to give our reality its first breath

 

And sure, they might infantalise us

and then tell us to think of the children

 

when it was we who needed to read of heroes

who were never printed.

 

But we’re out here.

 

We are the fragments in TikToks.

The pronouns in bios.

The signatures on petitions.

The protests. The placards.

The Instagram descriptions.

 

And we will not sit quietly at their

board meetings or dinners.

 

We are the ones who say it first,

but never say it too soon.

 

Our legacy will be jagged. Ruined.

 

But that’s okay

 

say it anyway.

 

We call out. We call in.

We step up. We step in.

We speak up faster

than it takes for their

tolerance to catch up.






 

So add more stories.

Give them more words.

Make them work late.

Lift up off the page.



 

And they will find new ways to change us.

Turn to new powers

new edits

new tools

to take our voice away

 

But there will always be something left behind

 

so

If I tell the truth - my truth -

are they going to edit what I say?

 

You know, like… take me out of context?

or *correct me?

(she’s a bit confused)

 

So is it really worth saying?

 

What if they mnaleg me in the hdaesnile?

 

I’ve formed my story from the years of my life

^ an entire mistake

I could come out, and they might stuff me back in.

(well, it is a phase)

(it is a craze)



 

(that’s not what she meant)

 

it was

 

yes you did

 

yep

 

(aggressive statement)

(not true)

(inaccurate) 

 

         a                      bit                b  ad

 

         a                      bit                b  ad

 

Th-th-th…

St-st-st- 

 

Is it ever worth saying?

 

S t vr wrth syng?

 




Make us vacuum-packed

until we fit into a pocked-sized volume

a quiet one

 

compact

 

...won’t like.

...completed our sentences.

 

You don’t want to take up space

 

so why say it anyway?

 

Ang iyong mga karapatan ay isang wikang banyaga sa kanila

 

t*** c**l*d *t v*****

 

“Not a top priority”

 

STOP CENSORING ME

“shall not intentionally promote homosexuality

LGBTQIA

LGB

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

******

"the failure to stand up for conservative thinking is leading us into a new cultural dark age" - Roger Scruton, The Telegraph, July 2019

“Lesbians facing ‘extinction’ as transgenderism becomes pervasive”

-Camilla Tominey, Associate Editor, the Telegraph, December 2020

"conservative thinkers being silenced"

-BBC News, April 2019

So say it anyway.

 

We give voice to the conversations

That didn’t exist before

 

We make new language

to give our reality its first breath

 

“Parents should be able to decide the moment at which their children become exposed to that information”





 


Fragments. TikToks.

Pronouns

Signatures

 

Descriptions

 

Their board meetings

dinners

 

the ones who say it first,

but never say it too soon

 

jagged. ruined.

 

but that’s okay.

 

Say it anyway.

 

We call out. We call in.

We step up. We step in.

We speak up faster

than it takes for their

Tolerance to catch up







So add more stories give them more words make them work late lift up off the page

 

 

 












SAY IT ANYWAY


Jasmine's film-poem 'Say It Anyway' appears to be a classic 'piece to camera', a deliberation on whether they should speak their truth as a trans person - but with an added twistAs Jas speaks, the subtitles underneath say something different - they misquote, warp and fight below.

'Say It Anway' reflects how regularly the truth can be warped in the press, and expresses Jas' frustration in how rarely we see actual trans people on panel programmes, debating their rights.

The reality is, when we think about the conversations on trans issues that take place on established platforms, usually the commentary is about us, and rarely by us.
 
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