Thank you, Ella Saunders-Crivello!

As an LGBTQ advocate and activist with views forged in the old days of Act Up New York, I write almost every day about equality.

I write almost every day about abuse and persecution that LGBTQ people face both in the United States and around the world.

There’s so often a disconnect, though, in reception. The people most likely to read my stories and engage with me are urban progressives like you who may never in their lives have experienced the consequences of homophobia and transphobia.

As you demonstrate so clearly, those of us who live in urban bubbles live very different lives from other Americans.

Because I have something of a public voice, I hear from LGBTQ people all over who suffer from oppression and discrimination, and I work to tell their stories.

Sometimes, though, I feel like I’m shouting into the wind. Sometimes I think it takes a personal epiphany like the one you had in New Orleans to transform theoretical knowledge into lived truth.

I can cite numbers all day long. LGBTQ youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide than straight/cis youth. LGBTQ suicide attempts are almost three times more likely to result in death.

40 percent of homeless youth in the US identify as LGBTQ, with family rejection for religious reasons being the leading cause.

One in three transgender women reports being sexually assaulted at some point in their life. Nearly 100% of Black trans women report physical assault. More than one transgender person is reported murdered every day of the year worldwide. Actual numbers are much higher.

Only 41% of LGBTQ people in the US are protected from discrimination in employment and housing. LGBTQ people are fired and evicted every single day for being who they are.

It’s hard to know how to make those numbers human and clear. It’s hard to know how to leverage the power of them to produce action.

Thanks for adding your voice!

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.