[confession time 2011]

hey y'know what i am real sick of lately?

racism in the queer/trans community. specifically
co-opting my (POC immigrant) culture’s practices.

no, white person i do not want you to share your latest
tincture using “oriental” herbs or learn yoga “under you”
as you co-opt brown/asian/african/latin@/indigenous
culture. you’ve visited homelands so many of us
cannot afford to get to or even visit for obligation,
moreover leisure or a redefining spiritual awakening. 

it’s not community healing when you steal a culture’s
form of healing and art only to capitalize on it yourself,
wear it as a badge on your sleeve to be more radically fit,
pseudo-progressive.  and THEN, have the nerve to 
offer it to surviving communities, specifically of color and poor,

as though it was yours to give in the first place.

that’s just your colonial whiteness showing. kind and well-
meaning intentions don’t make it less problematic.

support your brown/poc queer and transgender healers! 



for booking contact: info@kaybarrett.net
phone: 773-814-6503
Press Kit and materials available upon request

2/2011 for immediate release 

please forward to colleges, universities, students, & organizations.

A CAMPUS PRIDE 2009 Hot List artist, Kay Ulanday Barrett is a poet, performer, educator, and martial artist navigating life as a pin@y-amerikan trans/queer in the U.S. with struggle, resistance, and laughter.

see K online at: kaybarrett.net
on twitter @kulandaybarrett
and recipes for the people

Speaks, performs and facilitates on issues of:

Creative Writing and Social Justice, performance, LGBTQ empowerment, Multicultural and Global Solidarity, Self-defense and Healing, Community Dialogue, Asian-Pacific Islander Empowerment, Immigration, and Intersectionality and Identity.


  • The New Jersey Performing Arts Center
  • The Brooklyn Museum
  • The Chicago Historical Society
  • Musee Just Pour Rire, Montreal 
  • Lesbian Arts Festival, Dublin Ireland


  • Asian Americans for Progress
  • We Got Issues! a Young Woman’s Guide to Living a Bold, Courageous, & Empowered life
    edited by Rha Goddess & JLove Calderon
  • Filipino American Psychology: A Collection of Narratives edited by Dr. Kevin Nadal Phd
  • Kicked Out Anthology edited by Sassafras Lowrey
  • make/shift
  • LOUDmouth zine
  • Chicago Public Radio

[BOOKING for FALL & WINTER 2011-2012]

Celebrate your 2011 API/A April with some powerful and mighty performance by Kay Ulanday Barrett  and support the 2011-2012 BROWN ROUND BOI TOUR!  Ideal for colleges, universities, organizations, theaters, and conferences!


Speaks, performs and facilitates on issues of: 

Creative Writing and Social Justice, performance, LGBTQ empowerment, Multicultural and Global Solidarity, Self-defense and Healing, Community Dialogue, Asian-Pacific Islander Empowerment, Immigration, and Intersectionality and Identity.  

* A seasoned educator, Kay facilitates workshops on creative writing & performance, political cultural work for LGBTQ, people of color, and those who believe in social change. With a critical dialogue, Kay urges reflective, healing, and creative space.

*A committed social justice worker, Kay has worked in coalition with numerous LGBTQ, People of Color, Immigrant Rights, Anti-war, Youth collectives and organizations in nationally. 

*A touching, groundbreaking performer and published poet, Kay has performed for youth, teachers, students, political activists, workers, and artists internationally!


    • Asian Arts Initiative
    • The Brooklyn Museum
    • The Chicago Historical Society
    • The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS)
    • The Hip-Hop Theater Festival 
    • Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People
    • Incite! Women of Color Against Violence
    • Kriti Festival 
    • The Mexican Fine Arts Museum
    • The New Jersey Performing Arts Center
    • New World Theater
    • The National Women’s Studies Association Conference
    •  Lesbian Arts Festival, Dublin Ireland 
    • Musee Just Pour Rire, Montreal 

see K online at: kaybarrett.net
on twitter @kulandaybarrett
and recipes for the people

[a note on the word "resilience"] evening pages. violence/homelessness trigger warning.

at another book reading, where four of us, all so different and
in many ways breathing the same air were given a question:

why do you think you are still here? is it because of your resilience?
do you think resilience is hereditary? 

before that she says, 1 out of 10 of us never make it out. never stop being homeless, are chronically homeless. 

LGBTQ youth are in the streets, right now. you can find them on the
pier right now, i say.

i joke afterwards that i let the others on the panel talk of the statistics, leave
it up to them to mention that in nyc alone, there are only 76 beds for
queer and trans youth to sleep in at shelters. 76.

is resilience hereditary?

the numbers scare me. not that i didn’t witness them everyday, that i didn’t watch kids shuffle lines to heat up old ravioli from out dated cans, see security guards wake people up from benches at work and scream, “get up!”  watched so many students fleeing their foster homes b/c of the bruises they got, they beating they got for presenting their gender the way they do, for bringing a girlfriend over. remembering how cold it is right now, i can see the corner of belmont and clark st. as another friend threw up from food they found in the dumpster, how everything in their body looked like steam. the first year in the east coast, me being kicked out even at age 24 from an apartment because i was queer, the neighbors banging on the door, the police asking me carefully, do you think this is a hate crime?  then, i thought i was safe finally. finally. safety is a never ever arching word that is fantasy, something will always slip away and being kicked out has made me a half-believer in people, in myself. 

this understanding, this resilience theory,  that i got something you ain’t got. that i, by the almighty volition of self, pulled myself up by the sneakers and did something, pushed myself extra, deserved, somehow by blood, i am sitting in front of you about to get some warm dinner and walk slowly in the ice, eventually to my own front door, to my own floor, to my own bed, fix up some tea in my own kitchen that i never feel i truly deserve. that tape is the same mix playing inside the immigrant ear i think, the child of the immigrant, who is never welcome here, who has to be crafty as fuck, to somehow uplift themselves in this system that never meant for us to exist. 

i believe it is chance. i believe it is luck. i agree with another person on the panel, when they said, that it was possibly fate, if you believe in such a thing.

i say, i don’t think so. i don’t have a resilience that someone else doesn’t. i know people who are savvy, mindful, wise, and and, i clear my throat, who aren’t with us.

i have nightmares.

of my teacher saying not to come back to tae kwon do school ever, throw away 10 years of my life, because he heard from another coach how i kissed another girl. how i couldn’t train anywhere. how people who were in my family couldn’t look at me. how parents held the hands of their children, ushering them away from me as though i was going to devour them, eat their bones like delicacy. gay people do that, you know.  gay people shouldn’t be teachers of anything, martial arts or science or anything.

of my ma, even lying through the nest of tubes all over her body, cooing to the nurses at the hospital, that yes, she has a boyfriend and how i am always welcome i am at home. 

of _______. who didn’t make it. who bent the street the way some shape clay. bent that street for food the way some people easily laugh. 

of ________. who no one has heard from since last september after she was assaulted. the agency wouldn’t let her back in after she said he attacked her. in the report i typed that he said, i can make you like dick. just come here. agency supervisors say she is no longer welcome there.

of _______. who no one has seen since his first boyfriend. when they broke up
he looked at the razors the same way he had before, he stopped calling, he didn’t come to groups anymore. but damn, that sonnet he wrote was perfect in form and meter. 

last week, i spoke to a student who said he is going to the military, that he gave them his word, that he needs to do this for himself. because there is now where else to go. because i’m hungry and i want to go to college. he thinks it will be as a simple pressing of buttons, that the trauma he has faced has built him sturdy as steel for this. he convinces me that he wants to be honorable. 

that is your fine shining case in point.

resilience was like a code word for gift, a singular blip on my my DNA that makes
me a survivor. a bitter compliment. a setting apart of me to my fallen chosen family, to the youth i see now who work their breaths up and down the sidewalk, who go from job interview to job interview without a bed to sleep in, who write poems even when they have now where to keep them. there’s guilt you know. why i am here and they are there or not, not here anymore with us at all. don’t use my strength as a weapon to my chosen family, even those people who have never rested their heads on my shoulder.
this will not be the correct answer to stop homelessness or queer/transphobia, this will only pull us apart from the resources and respect we are entitled. 

there’s no gene that makes one stronger to survive the streets, this country, this false amerikkkan dream. there is no explanation or cordial easy way out to reward the exceptional from the batch of us failed by systems of oppression, institutions that see us still as numbers, as grant data. the resilience of those to be exemplary heads to patpat and harp, see it’s not the social services, the judicial system, the law enforcement, the educational system, the parents, not the parents, the foster care system, the…….

at the former agency i worked at, i overheard a co-worker who said, i haven’t seen ______. in awhile either. eh well, there will always be more.  

like a supply of stars, an inventory of constant constant lives.



[support indie brown round boi art & performance poetry]


interested in SPR/FALL 2011 programs & events that support queer & transgender people of color?  fill out a survey and get some brown round boi goodness at your next conference, event, panel, and performance.

[educator, performance poet, martial artist, speaker]
voted for CAMPUS PRIDE HOT LIST 2009
published in KICKED OUT, Filipino American Psychology,
MotherTongues, make/shift, LOUDmouth, and venus zine.

my feature in the WINTER 2008 edition of LOUDmouth zine entitled: move out! pushed out! reflections on queer bodies spaces and gentrification (page 12)

LOUDmouth is made by and for feminists fo all genders. We refuse to leave our ethnicities, sexual identities or any other part of ourselves at the door. The mission of LOUDmouth is to provide an alternative to mainstream media by exploring feminist thought, art and action via journalism, personal stories, poetry, critical analysis, fiction, art and more. We publish the work of emerging and experienced writers and artists, and consider ourselves a part of global movements of feminism, independent media and social justice.

Feminism: fem'e-niz'em -n. [The] movement to end sexism, seixt exploitation and [all] oppression. –bell hooks

General Info
LOUDmouth is a project of the Women,s Resource center at California State University, Los Angeles. Founded in spring 2003, this quarterly publication currently has a print run of 1,500 and is distributed throughout Southern California.

read full online journal here:


[things found publicly & privately: trigger warnings abound] found poem.

this is where the cripples sit.  don’t look at her, him. stop staring. excuse me, are you a boy or girl? this is where the cripples sit. shame that’s a faggot, he could be a really pretty woman. why do you have boobs? why do you have a cane? what happened to your foot? you’re too young to be injured like that. arthritis? really you? if you just meditate, do this this exercise and it will make the pain go away, focus on the pain and you’ll see, you’ll feel better. when i studied in japan, we did this meditation and it was like i belonged in japan all along, though y'know i am american. maybe if you meditate. how long does your bleeding last? i would wait. i would wait until your immune system heals before you go on hormones. what’s going on with your body? you miss her don’t you? sometimes when people die, there is nothing you can do, just pray to the lord that they are finally at peace.  i would pay attention to when you cough, what does that mean? wow! you like, have no family! none of your blood family is alive? that must suck. no, i’m not getting up just because some gay faggot says they have a cane. are you serious? put your weight on your good hand. i got life, i got lots, i got headaches and toothaches and bad times too like you.  are you serious? you keep getting sick, what is in you that needs to come out? whoa, you’ve been sick alot lately. sorry, i cannot talk about it, it’s classified information. really you? i would wait. put your weight on the good hand. that must be a good thing, right? i think that our friends with spiritual practice often talk about the good shiny spirits, and avoid discussion of the bad. i, i am sorry for not letting you know we had stairs ahead of time. ain’t got no ticket, ain’t got no token, ain’t got no love. i think chicagoans complain of winter, but then get offended if there’s not at least one good story to tell. my heart goes out to you, and i think you’re enough to fill the spaces between clouds. really you?


April 12, 2011: Siblings & Sideshow’s ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

It’s Sideshow’s ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY show! April’s lineup for the theme of Siblings features Anne-E. Wood, Katie Liederman, and Kay Ulanday Barrett!

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival: Siblings
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
Tuesday, April 12th @ The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)