I felt them with me that day last week.
Walking down the street with my flyers and my roll of scotch tape.
Walking into gay bars and gay-owned businesses in the last frontier of Dallas’ gay ghetto, asking for space in their windows, negotiating for a better spot for my flyer advertising the vigil for the gay rights event I was helping with.
The streets were fairly quiet and so were the businesses. Mid-week, afternoon lull. People going about their business, many of them gay men—eating, shopping, having a drink, smoking a cigarette on an outdoor patio.
I felt them with me today.
Working with a random assortment of folks who had some extra time on their hands and an abundance of passion in their hearts to prepare for another civil rights event within our local community.
There was great diligence and also cutting up and laughter. And a good deal of running around doing this and that, trying to pull everything together. Above all, there was an exuberant positivity in the room.
Actually, I feel them with me constantly.
Thinking about how people can come together to make things better for others—not just those of us who identify as “gay” but other people who find themselves on the short end of society’s acceptance. Homeless youth. Transgender people. Immigrants. People with HIV/AIDS. Gay rights, yes. Marriage equality, yes. But not just gay. Equality and justice and respect for all of us.
I reflect: was this what it was like for Harvey and Cleve and Anne and Danny and Jose and Scott? The overwhelming passion and stress. The anxiety leading up to the event, wondering if everyone would show up. The low pay, the late nights, the partner who loves you so much to rein you back in at times to be still and be just with one another.
Wondering what the outcome of their collective efforts would be.
Wondering if they will live to see full equality.
Wondering if what you did would really make a difference.
Things are different now. And yet they’re exactly the same.