It seems like just yesterday when I sat down to write my five-year anniversary column for the May issue of QSaltLake. Those short months since have seen tremendous change for this community. Mark Lawrence’s dream of marriage equality in Utah has come to fruition, first with the ruling by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and then by a Supreme Court decision that Utah’s arguments were too ridiculous to merit review of the case.
That ruling has led to a grudging acceptance of equality in policy from government agencies and is now spreading into family-equality matters such as adoption, foster care, and other realms of law. The tides shifted and this community in Utah was at the forefront, leading the charge. You all have a great deal of which you should be proud.
I have been both honored and humbled to have shared the field of battle with so many amazing people and dedicated activists. I don’t have the space in this column to name and thank all who have touched my life and from whom I have learned so much, but I’m going to try.
First, to Michael Aaron Green and the rest of the QSaltLake family. You took me in and gave me a platform for my voice. You welcomed me, mentored me, defended me, and helped me to become a better writer, a better activist, and a better person. You believed in me. For that I will always be grateful. There is no one I am more honored to call friend than you.
There are so many powerful activists in this community who have befriended me and stood with me. Charles Frost, Becky Moss, Chris Katis, David Andreason, Ben Williams, Doug White, Kip Swan, Connie Anast-Inman, Mark Lawrence, Matt Spencer, Clyde Peck, Amy Barry, Todd Bennett, Chris Kantil, and Kelly Lake, just to name a few. You’ve allowed me into your lives and have made an indelible impact on mine. You will forever have a place at the table of my heart.
Finally, to all of the readers of QSaltLake. You have picked up the magazine and helped spread our stories online. You have made it possible for us to keep going. Twice you have honored me with Fabby Awards, and your support has given me strength to keep digging for the truth and bringing that to you in the face of opposition, criticism and outright hostility.
Keep it up! Demand honesty and accountability from those who would ask for your support and loyalty. Those who wish to lead should do so from a position of service to YOUR community. It falls to each of you to make that the paradigm of leadership.
Hard as it may be, change is the one constant in our universe and none of us is immune. I cannot express how much I’ve enjoyed my work with QSaltLake, and the debt of gratitude I owe to this community for allowing me to stand with you over the years. As we move into this new time, allow me to offer one small bit of parting advice: stay strong and remain vigilant. You came together to take back rights that should have been inalienable from the start. Those who would oppress you may have lost this battle, but they are far from capitulation.
You have in this community some incredibly powerful voices, many of whom I listed above, but your voice is the one best suited to represent you! Don’t wait for a “leader” to emerge, take the reins and make your own mark on history. Learn from the example of Mark Lawrence and Restore Our Humanity; each of you has it in you to spark change. Rediscover the community that started this ball rolling over four decades ago. Rediscover it and rebuild it. Become the community you want, not as what someone else sees you.
With that, it’s time to sail on the the winds of change and bid you a fond farewell with my most sincere appreciation. It has been one hell of a ride and I will always cherish the memories of this community and the lessons you’ve taught me. With all of my love and undying respect, I’m out!