For all of the essays I’ve written about the troublesome elements of Who Has Eyes To See there were also some moments of great poignancy and beauty. Sometimes, in the midst of the hurtful things; the things that sting and wound and cause you to take two steps back; it’s hard to focus on the things that are positive. Those small moments get lost in the larger agony.
But those moments did exist and the reverberations continue to be felt. Holding on to those moments are what enables me to get back to the hard work of writing shows about my own experience and the experience of my community. It’s what gives me the courage to get out there again and ask for money to fund the next show. It’s what helps me to get back up when I feel like I’ve been knocked down.
I really do believe, more than ever, that stories can change the world.
I believe it even when the stories are misunderstood at first. Or when people get a different point than I intended. I believe it even when people seem uninterested. I believe that we keep telling our stories. We tell them over and over. We find new ways to tell them. We just keep telling them. And the world will change.
So here’s the good that I saw:
I am proud of the fact that a bunch of people over two weekends saw a transgender man living well and being loved well.
I saw over 100 people from all of the world send messages of support to trans youth they didn’t know (and will never meet). I saw those messages get placed into booklets and those booklets get passed into the hands of youth who clutched them like a lifeline as they left the theatre.
I saw a young person hang out after the show, just wanting to be in the space. Then asking for a hug and simply saying “Thank you” as they cried.
I sat across a table from someone who said “No one died. Thank you.” And we both just let the moment sit between us because we know, in our bones, that no one dying is a rare and beautiful thing.
I saw young people speak up in talkbacks in front of people much older than them who clearly didn’t get it and share brave and bold and clear stories of their lives and struggles. But more than that they shared their fierceness and their hope.
I saw countless people take booklets on how to be a trans ally (so many that PFLAG had to raid their office to get more- TWICE). People wanted to find a way to learn more.
I heard a story of hope from a partner of a trans person who found a way through the pain into a hopeful future.
But mostly I felt the relief of recognition from the other trans people in the room. The small moments where we caught one another’s eyes and just sighed. We connected and felt relief at that connection.
These are my people. This is our story. What else can I do but keep telling it?