Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Passing of a Friend - A Person Who Made A Difference to the World...

Linda Russell Walton 1963 - 2012
It took me awhile to pull myself together to write this. Last month, on September 16th, my dear friend Linda passed away at the age of 49. Today, I am going to a Wake/Celebration of her life - apparently about 100 people at least are showing up....and for every 1 of them there are 10 more at least who want to make it, but can't get there - I'm serious. This lady touched a lot of lives.

You see, back in May of last year, I posted a blog post, and PLEASE go read this now, "One plus One plus One, or...Its OK to be Takei!" about the "Its OK to be Takei" activist movement, about the logo that George Takei adopted when the Tennessee schools made it illegal to use the word "Gay" in the class room. The artist who designed the logo requested to remain anonymous. Well, anonymous no more...Linda, here above, my friend, is the lady who designed that logo! And I by God am going to credit her now for that powerful piece of activism! (Actually, the news is pretty much out all over the net, now that she's passed.) Yeah. THAT'S how many lives she well as so many people on a personal level. The comments at the bottom of the post, the two by MisBehavin'...That's Linda, herself, commenting on what I had written.

George Takei, on hearing of her death, sent these words to us, "I am saddened by this news. I really appreciated the effort she made--and the message of hope she helped spread. My deepest condolences to her family and friends. She was taken too, too early."

She was an artist, and an activist for everything good and true for everything from women's rights to GLBT issues. She was fun, with a great sense of humor and unpredictable and delightfully quirky! She was my roommate for a few years, a decade ago, and we've stayed close ever since. She was a loyal friend and dearer than a sister and her death was a shock. ...I STILL just barely have any words right now. 

She made me a better person, and she supported me through so many things, as an artist, and as a human being, including discovering my life's journey as a transperson and returning to school to be a therapist.She was an example to everyone who knew her on how to live life and get it right! 

I have an empty Linda shaped hole in my life right now, and nothing else will ever fill it. 

Til we meet again, Linda. Til we meet again...and what is remembered, lives!

Thank you, made a difference,
more than you will ever know.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Anniversary of Mathew Shepard's Death - The Laramie Project

Today is the 14th anniversary of Mathew Shepard's death...

He would have been 36 this year, if he had lived.

Mathew Shepard was a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered near Laramie, Wyoming, U.S.A., in October 1998 because he was gay. This hate crime rocked the nation at the time.  He was attacked on the night of October 6–7, and died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12 from severe head injuries.

Shepard's murder brought national and international attention to the contention of hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels.

In 2009, his mother Judy Shepard authored a book The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed. On October 22, 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Matthew Shepard Act for short), and on October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law.

The Laramie Project is a stage play made into a full length feature film based on direct interviews of the residents of Laramie during the media frenzy and the trial of Mathew's murderers.
This the entire film posted here - if you find time, today is a good day to watch it...and think...and remember.