I recently had an eye opening event occur in my life, as I sadly know many of us seem to also have had. Though we were not close friends by any means, I recently lost a friend to suicide. I am aware (or at least, I believe) a good number of you knew him, as he was a pretty active participant in the trans and queer communities; his name was Leo. While I had certainly noticed the spike in numbers of brothers and sisters of our queer and trans community, it didn't truly hit close to home until I had heard of his passing. It was like a violent shake of a wake up call.
In an answer to that, I sat and I thought... Something needs to be done. Something that can give a voice to our community, to our lost brothers and sisters, our family and friends, our partners in love and in crime [life]. Then I remembered my old roommate. A dear family friend had passed and she participated in a walked called Out of the Darkness, which is put on by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I want to get a team together and raise funds for this foundation in a Manhattan community walk, which will be held on October 28th of this year. I am hoping that our community stands up and addresses this, that we become visible and indivisible during these incredibly tough and trying times, and that we pull together and help in the ways that possibly/feasibly can. I'm not expecting miracles, a million people, or a billion dollars. I simply mean only to impart one thing. One message. Awareness.
Why should we walk? First, we walk to honor my wonderful friend, Leo, and so many others who we held dear to our hearts, who deserves to be honored and remembered everyday. We walk in their honor to save others from the pain they had to endure. We walk to prevent others from suffering the pain we have suffered as survivors. We walk for all those we’ve lost to suicide. We walk for those who are not strong enough to walk. We walk to create discussion and dialog about mental illness and suicide and anything else that need be. We walk to end the stigmas. We walk to show our support. We walk to heal our souls. We walk in hope. We walk to open eyes. We will continue to walk, to save lives and to make lives better! And yes, we walk to raise funds for research and the great programs the AFSP provides and funds.
Please reach out to me if you might be interested in participating in any way, whether it be by assisting in planning, brainstorming for fundraising, simply wanting to join in the walk, anything. Every little bit helps - especially just your time and your compassion. To those that reach out, I will reach out with details and specifics as soon as I have them.
Take care of each other,