Tonight, I want to tell you about a dear friend. Someone very important to myself and to my partner, Daria.
Hir name was Amelia. Ze took hir own life late in the night last Tuesday. I found out as soon as I woke up Wednesday morning. A week ago today.
Amelia was gorgeous. Ze was brilliant. Ze sparkled, flirted, brightened spaces, tied innuendo into unexpected sentences, and could talk about advanced mathematics that I cannot begin to understand.
But, honestly, we never talked about advanced math or technology. Amelia was passionate about social justice. Ze came into our community during a chance run-in at a march in solidarity for immigrant’s rights. Late in hir life, ze started campaigning for patient’s rights in mental health. This hyper focus came about from continuous failures in her stays in various psych wards here in Boston. Some of these failures caused significant harm.
Make no mistake. While Amelia may have died at hir own hand, ze was driven to it. Multiple assaults from random men on the street who continue to feel liberty in how they treat women, followed by hospitalizations that dehumanized hir, ignored hir, and in some cases, did significantly more harm.
I miss my friend.
I miss a friendship lost.
I regret the tensions between us, the things we did not have time to heal.
The day we all found out, the morning after Amelia died, seventeen people gathered for an impromptu wake.
Let that sink in. Seventeen people dropped everything to gather, weep, and reminisce, with no advance notice. Queer community is not large, but it is tightly connected and our members are loved. To quote my friend Aria:
Queer culture is grieving as a family no outsider would recognize, a haphazard landslide of lovers & friends. The ones who bring the tequila & gin, the ones who bring the casseroles, the ones who bring the cookies and apologize about the butter, the ones who make a big thai curry
While we can never change what outsiders would see, I want very much to change the definition of “outsider”. While I always live visibly, I have not in the past put much effort into broadcasting that image, and it thus became possible for people ostensibly in my life to completely ignore that which they did not see. But that means that, should I die, there are many people who would have to learn about the full me only through pictures and stories. If they learn at all. Perhaps they would actively ignore.
For now, however, I want to actively try to show what a happy, healthy life outside of the norm of cisgender, heterosexual, monogamy looks like.