Lukas Kofoed Reimann: »Bathtub Kinship«
I’m lying in my bathtub watching videos of Sam Smith on YouTube. The hot water satisfies a need for touch I all too easily put aside. I look at their hips, their soft face, and see myself reflected. Not just as I’ve always imagined myself to be; the self and body my head has been filled with. But I also see the body that fills my bathtub. The body I saw in the mirror as I stretched and waited for the bathtub to fill. Sam Smith’s body, recognized with well-produced videos, watched by millions of people, brings peace to my body. It’s not the longing I’ve so often lived in, but a form of arrival.
The white teardrop-shaped earring against the short cut hair and well-groomed beard give my own body permission to be. My enjoyment of my own femininity is allowed in theirs. Their hips give my own permission to be wider than my shoulders, to have softer movements than what is expected. Their soft belly and beautiful smile give me permission to see myself the same way. As a body that is loved, that is worth showing off in beautiful pictures. A body worth being in. A permission I haven’t asked for, but it still soothes a desire living deep inside me.
In the water, my body isn’t ambivalent, ambiguous, complicated—it’s easy to read in its queerness. Nothing to be dissatisfied with, nothing to strive towards, just someone alive, connected to another human being through a small screen. A human being who is as tangible as me. A person whose music I’ve heard in a café with my grandmother, blended into an endless stream of pop. A sudden recognition that filled me with an urge to shout to the world that the person they are listening to is just like me. Here’s another queer, another outlier that they give space. With my cola in front of me and my grandmother looking calmly over the lake outside the window, I become proud for them. Proud of their success and their courage. Proud that we are a kind of family, that we are bound together, that we can mirror each other, and that it gives us strength. We’ll never meet, but we know we’re out there. We know that we are not alone and that we are not invisible.
»Bathtub Kinship« was first published on www.orangesjournal.com.
Lukas Kofoed Reimann is a writer, scholar, and editor who lives in Berlin. His writing is often concerned with questions of identity and belonging, and his current project explores his experiences of transition and chronic pain in particular. He is a passionate reader of all kinds of trans* literature and continually hopes to empower others to tell their stories. In 2019 he wrote his master’s thesis on trans* autobiography and kinship at Humboldt University. Recently his work has been published in English in Overcom and in Danish in Trappe Tusind, and his text »Undiagnosed« was selected as a runner up for the Berlin Writing Prize 2022.
Literatur in den Sprachen Berlins 2023
Arna Aley, Tomás Cohen, Wiam El-Tamami, Kenny Fries, Tracy Fuad, Katarina Gotic, Barbara Ivusic, Rob Madole, Dory Manor, Alice Miller, Lukas Kofoed Reimann, Jennifer Richard, Sandra Rosas, Caroline Schmidt, Ákos Szolcsányi, Pierre Testard, Burçin Tetik und Antonio Ungar