TW: death, murder, anti-LGBT violence.
The event kicks off its second year this coming Monday, May 6, and will run through the week, completing its final day on the following Monday, May 13.
At this point, I am trying not to panic about the fact that the event kicks off Monday. Don’t get me wrong – I am excited about the Week and the opportunities it holds for me and others who take part. But this year, I won’t pretend its imminence doesn’t strike me with a touch of anxiety and sorrow. People tell me it’s the most difficult the first time you do something – I have to disagree. Come this time last year, the Week of Action was an entirely new idea I had never tried before; I had no expectations and little worry due to not ever having attempted something of its nature before. I was excited and idealistic; I was confident my message was a worthy one and that carried me through the first eventful Week and the many weeks leading up to it. Caught up in trying to put something big and meaningful together, I also slightly overestimated just how much I would be able to handle, as I didn’t realize how much the event and what it signified was going to weigh on me. This year, I am more worried. It’s not a lot of worry – I look forward to the event! – but it’s there in a way it wasn’t in 2012. I have reached out to more people about taking part, and a hell of a lot more people know about my blog than in 2012 by virtue of the Stories Project. The pressure is on to ensure this is a meaningful event and that I don’t make mistakes with it. I hold more reservation about the 2013 Week because the people connected to the victims (including several connected to the one whom the event was modeled around) now know about the blog – whether they read it past the initial contact or not, they know about it. It would perhaps be easier if I could be certain what I do is what I should do, but I have to go on without that certainty. There are a thousand ways the Week of Action could go right, and there are a thousand ways it could go wrong.
Add to that the fact that this year is a milestone anniversary of the death, and I have another concern: I have no idea how I’m going to react to that come May 13. I’m not sure if my reaction last year (if you’re joining us for the first time: I broke down writing the stories out on day four and struggled to function enough those last three days to even complete the Week of Action) is indicative of the effect the date itself has on me, or the fact that I had been focusing so strongly on nothing but murders and suicides, learning all the horrific and crushing details of all 69 of them, for eight solid weeks without a break. I think it was very much the latter – I was destined to burn out eventually – and the date was simply the tipping point. But I’ve never faced a milestone anniversary before, not with this story. I have no idea how I’m going to react, or what thoughts I’m going to be having that day. I imagine they aren’t going to be uplifting. I imagine, if this year proves to be anything like 2012, they are going to leave me contemplating the bleak reality that no amount of changing the present can change the past, no amount of changing the world for LGBT people of today can bring back the ones who are already dead. I don’t want to go through this again. I know 2013 being the 25th anniversary has the potential to be just as bad as 2012 if not worse. Alternatively, if the date was just the tipping point the first time around, it could very well have the same effect as the way I intend to take action this year will without a doubt be much more intense.
Probably the portion of the Week of Action 2013 that is instilling in me the most fear and stress is the way in which I intend to take action for it. I decided this a long time ago and I’m going to do it – I’m finally going to come forward with my own story of anti-gay violence. And I’m going to share it with people. I’m going to actually send it out to people, not just put it up on the website and call it a day. I was attacked in 2011. I didn’t speak of it for two years. The first time I mentioned being attacked was late summer 2012, in one of the Stories Project letters, but I have never come forward and shared in any detail. I’m trying to convince myself that it’s time. I know it’s time. I’m going to share it. I’m not going to pretend it’s been easy, though. I have it written – I keep reading it out loud to myself, reading it over and over to get myself used to saying it. I was attacked for being gay. I have a story. I know what I want to get across in telling my story. I’m going to share my story. Over and over I have to say this. The piece of my life I didn’t talk about for two years is going out on Sunday. I don’t have time to panic.
Though I have substantial worries about the Week of Action that I didn’t have in 2012, I am looking forward to the event. I know it will be an experience that will shape me – all of this does. So I will press on. And I encourage you all to press on with me.