I went to the 10 year vigil for Matthew Shepherd.
I talk about how much the world has changed from time to time, but being there with a bunch of kids who were little kids when he was killed, hearing them talk about how they perceive the differences in the world since then, it makes me wonder. (Any of you reading this, I'm not using "kids" pejoratively or in a dismissive manner. I treasure the (fairly large) chunk of kidhood that I've hung onto since I was your age. I hope you each manage to do as well or better than I did)
Mostly we stood in silence, a few of the leaders spoke. Most of the folks here are more directly touched by the violence against Shepherd and other gays. For them, it is always a horrible possibility that someone might attack them because they are members of the lgbt community. The society that we are part of still persists in treating them, in many ways, as second class citizens, restricting the ways that they can express love and devotion, telling them that crimes committed against them because of their sexual identity are obviously not hate crimes, a hundred hundred things that I am privileged not to experience. For that, as much as for the fact that I had nothing to add, I kept quiet myself. There is beauty in silent togetherness as well as vocal community, and I was not going to break the first to attempt to gain the second.
All places and times are holy, but those moments in that circle, they are worth singling out. The sun sinks below the horizon, our faces are lit by our candles and the falling dusk. A bitter melancholy and a tang of hope, the belief that progress has been made, these are the contents of the circle. If we have come less far than these people around me believe, it is only because the past they believe in was not quite as bad as they think it was. These people are part of the hope of the world.
Afterward, we break up and turn to inconsequential talk, Pippin (a name I remember because it is full of awesome) assumes that I'm gay myself, something that I will correct next time I see him, but for now, correcting a misapprehension is not worth breaking the moment.

These are my people. They aren't all of my people, and their cause is not the entirety of my cause, but people gathered together in good will to bring about change for the better, they are all mine as I am theirs if they will have me. If their portion of the cause is what they see most clearly, that is no short coming, it is part of our shared humanity.

We depart into the night, richer for each other.

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