Coming out is a notoriously daunting moment for many people in life, a moment that often takes great courage. But imagine overcoming all of your emotional hurdles, finding the opportune moment, coming out, and then nobody believes you?
This is the exact scenario Adaya faced when she recently came out in her mid-twenties. Curiously, she experienced scepticism and interrogation from her peers after a string of male lovers and previous ‘heterosexual behaviour’. In a new spoken word piece, Adaya presents That Bitch Lied, sharing her coming out journey as part of SHOUT: At Home.
SHOUT Festival is Birmingham’s annual festival of Queer Arts and Culture, which provides a platform for a huge variety of underrepresented work. Created as a direct response to a lack of representation in the arts for the LGBT community, this festival has been celebrating queerness and diversity since 2009. Like many festivals this year, SHOUT Festival has moved online for a two-week period in November.
That Bitch Lied opens with Adaya reading from an oversized book, as though beginning a light-hearted bed-time story. Initially, we’re struck by Adaya’s sassy attitude, but this is soon beautifully balanced with her vulnerability and openness, both as a writer and performer.
In very few words, Adaya successfully builds and expresses many energies, worlds and characters. Adaya conjures the magic of Pride, but also the personality of her Jamaican father, who was disdainful of same-sex relationships. After coming out at Birmingham Pride, Adaya records the transition between being queer in a safe space but then having to adapt to daily life with this as a core part of her identity. It’s fascinating how everyone feels the need to comment on her sexuality, as though they know better, but also how they need to find a reason for it: “Men have done this by treating you a certain way.” It’s really no wonder that these external forces and this transition sparked a huge journey of self-doubt, and in turn, of self-identity.
She refers to herself as “The girl” which is reminiscent of fairytales, and adds a real innocence to this piece. There’s something within this simple delivery style that allows the text to float over the listener, reaching the heart in a tender but factual way. Adaya’s writing is wonderfully witty, and not only does it rhyme, but it also cleverly features a classic three act structure of outings: “Coming Out”, “Freaking Out”, and “Chilling Out”.
Self-aware and comical, Adaya reaches a triumphant conclusion so that this story has a happy ending where she feels confident in herself and in her identity. Whilst raising some important perspectives, the piece is joyous and powerful. In addition to this, it also poses the interesting argument that society tells everyone that they’re straight. But in Adaya’s words, it’s often clear that That Bitch Lied.
That Bitch Lied is now streaming on the SHOUT Festival YouTube Channel. For more information, see the SHOUT Festival website.