Tuesday, June 14, 2016

We Will Always Rise

I was driving home from work today, listening to All Things Considered on NPR - you know, like I do - and I was listening to Ari Shapiro interviewing Eddie Meltzer in Orlando.  Eddie had been in PULSE that night, but left early to get some food, then went home.  He awoke to the news.

Eddie had spent the last few days acting as an ad hoc translator for families who had lost a child, but did not speak English.  The majority of the victims were Puerto Rican: children born in the U.S. to Spanish-speaking parents.  The stories Eddie told about the grieving families, the disbelief, the shock, were heart-wrenching.

But it was what Eddie said at the end of the interview.  He talked about calling up a friend who had also been at PULSE and asking him when they would go out for martinis again.  Ari jokingly questioned his sanity, and Eddie responded with this, which I think is the best and most eloquent encapsulation of who we are as gay men, and how despite the world's efforts to take us down time and time and time again, we will always rise:
“I’m just not going to subscribe to fear.  We are a strong community.  (You know) we’re gay men; we live in a world where we get a lot of hate, we take a lot of hate. And we know how the world feels about us.  And we’re strong people because we live in a world that was not made for us. And if tomorrow somebody took over this country and said, ‘we’re going to kill all the gays’, I will be the first one in that square saying, ‘shoot me’ with my big flag all over the place.  I would rather die for what I stand for.  You can’t kill me; I’m an idea.  I’m timeless.” 
We will always rise.