I wanted to write about my holidays today. Was gonna show you some tasty-ass vegan foodporn and tons of pics of the many animals (and, I guess, humans too) who I’ve befriended since I’ve gotten to the US. I’m sorry that won’t happen right now.
The community I love lost someone wonderful today to suicide. He was my age. Far, far too young to die. I’m thousands of miles away, sitting in a cafe in Portland and overwhelmed by the outpourings of grief and broken hearts from so many places. We’ll never get to see his cheeky grin again, and he’ll never have another chance (any chance he got) to wander about with his shirt off. (Seriously, I’ve never known someone who was as much of a show-off. And- let’s be clear here- he had a lot to be proud of).
I haven’t seen Sean since I moved out of the house we shared a few years ago. We didn’t end that on the best of terms- we were so not compatible as housemates, but, you know, you always figure you’ll see each other again a bit down the road and make things up and laugh about how ridiculous you were, right? It’s Ireland. It’s queer Ireland, even. We always run into each other again. What a fucking cliche that that’s not going to happen. I’m so sorry.
But I’m so glad I knew him. He was funny as hell, sharp as a fucking knife, and one of the most genuine people you’ll meet underneath it all. He had a mischievous streak a mile wide, and convinced too-sensible me to stay up later than I should and break rules I never would have on my own more times than I can remember. I remember late-night chats after tough days. Barbecues out the back yard in the blazing sunshine. That one night we almost got kicked out of our local pub and snuck out with full pint glasses under our coats to giggle all the way home. I remember the pole he had installed in the middle of our dining room. Dude knew how to work that thing. I remember that I’ve never seen cheeky grin quite like his, or someone who could flirt with the whole room and the four walls as well without even saying a word.
And then we fell out over so much petty stuff and I haven’t talked to him in over two years. Fuck.
I’m so sorry he didn’t feel he could continue in the world. I’m so glad he was here for the short time he was. I’m lucky to have known him for the short few years I did. And my heart is broken and heavy today.
He was one of the strongest people I’d met, and by living uncompromisingly as exactly who he was he showed so many others how to do the same. Uncompromisingly trans, uncompromisingly queer, uncompromisingly fucking fabulous and stubborn as all get-out. If anyone could make it through the crap he’d had handed to him it was him. I wish he knew how much he meant. How much he mattered to so many people.
And it wasn’t enough. Our country has failed people with mental illnesses. We can’t stop someone from choosing to end their life, but we bloody well can make sure that they have another option.
It’s too late for Sean. It’s not too late for the people still alive. I don’t want any other groups of people to feel the way that I do now. And yet? I know that we’re not the only ones. I know that suicide has become such a cliché that the flipping Rubberbandits were on the TV talking about our young people throwing themselves into rivers a few months back.
I’m sure in a few days I can show you those food pics and cuddles with cats and dogs and humans and pretty photos of trees in the sunshine. Right now though? My heart is too sore.
I know that this isn’t a tenth as much as so many of my loved ones are hurting. I love you all. You all matter more than you can ever know.
Rest in Power, Sean. We’ll be telling stories of you for more years than you could ever have imagined.