In today's installment, I'm going to tell y'all about some of the people you probably DON'T know personally. They're also people about whom I care deeply. Fear not, my friends who live a little closer...more posts are yet to come. (Patience is a virtue, Brendon...though neither of us has recently been accused of being virtuous.)
Judy - Yes, Shepard. Matt's Mom. I've gotten to know her a bit over the last 8 years, and couldn't respect her more. She embodies grace, poise, and compassion. She fights for GLBT people everywhere, especially youth. She's a mom, though something akin to an enraged momma grizzly. She will fight until she can't do so anymore. Fight for a world where everyone is safe and welcome in school, where all kids deserve a home and supportive "family" despite who they love, and where everyone should keep their job if they're a good employee. Dennis and Judy made one of the most generous and forgiving decisions ever...one I know I couldn't have made. Judy for President!
Jackie - My adopted PFLAG grandma. She looks like she wants to bake you cookies. She also knows a four letter word or two! When my mom told me there was a lump in her breast, I called Jackie 10 minutes later. I knew she'd been a "cancer buddy" for one of her friends, driving her to chemo, holding her hand, etc. The next day Jackie brought me a book with everything I needed to know. She later wrote my mom a letter of support, and they became fast friends. Mom would spend more time having coffee and chatting with Jackie than she did with me on her visits to Laramie! She and my sister bought the rainbow disco ball that hangs in the RRC, and Jackie was one of the first volunteers the center ever had. She's always been there for me, and is truly family.
Dave and Jennifer - Okay, some of you know the O'Malleys, and more of you know OF them. I first met Dave in the course of the investigation of Matt's murder. He later told me that I was the first gay person he KNEW was gay when talking to me. He used to be VERY homophobic, but today is one of our greatest supporters. Jennifer has a heart of gold coupled with a sharp tongue she's not afraid to use! Camping, cocktails by the chiminea, pride parades...we've done a little bit of everything together. I respect them SO much, and always have an amazing time when I'm with them. Nobody gives me shit so well or so regularly. ;)
Amy - She held my hand when I had to talk to my mother over the phone about being the Chair of the LGBTA, and that I was going to be on the nightly news because a friend of mine had been attacked. She gave me the first housewarming gift for the kitchen in my brand new house. She held me when I cried over my mother's death. And she introduced me to new worlds as my shamanic teacher. She knows just when I need a phone call or email, and just when it's time to have lunch together at Corona Village. We are the voice of reason for each other, and help each other cut through to the heart of the matter. A champion for diversity, nature, and all living things.
Lisa - My red-headed cohort in crime from college. We lived on the same floor in the dorms for 2 years, and were inseparable. We came out together. We went to our first LGBTA meeting together, hand in hand. We watched the "Puppy Episode" together...not suprising since the entire SERIES of "Ellen" was a weekly ritual for us. Our friends used to say that everytime we were together, it was bound to be an adventure. And it was. She'd tell me a "camp story!" every now and then, from her days as a wrangler and counselor at a ritzy summer camp in the mountains outside Estes Park. I'd read her the latest "depression in an envelope" from my mom. When our friend swallowed a bunch of pills our senior year, she drove to the hospital while I carried her drowsy body. She and Steph had me over for dinner the night news broke about Matt's attack. I wouldn't have made it through college without her, and it certainly wouldn't have been as much fun.
Rod - I met Rod when four poor kids from UW went to speak at a GLBT Youth Leadership conference at CSU. Three of us stayed on the floor of his apartment for 2 days. And boy did we bond! He was like my counterpart in Fort Collins, and it became a ritual to call him for lunch or cocktails anytime were went south. Now he's in San Diego, and I got to spend some time with him on the now-infamous road trip to "the UnHoly Lands." We think a lot alike, and both want careers in GLBT activism. And it doesn't hurt that he's a very nice guy and cute to boot. We've even been to a Cher concert together! He also has the BEST use for the Book of Mormon (or Bible) I've ever heard...
More to come later...and yes, Brendon...you'll be featured sooner or later. Just remember...you asked for it! ;)