The brutal murder of Matthew Shepard has left the world aghast, and left me physically ill and emotionally drained for four whole days. What made me sicker was the near-complete inability for massive and immediate reaction and response in this city.
Calls to six or seven organizations, including AVP and the Center, was an exercise in frustration. Nothing was planned. Websites were not updated. I did hear, haphazardly, about a demo--a poorly attended one--in front of the Republican Party's HQ on Lexington. It was not clear whether ESPA or AVP had organized it, or both. The world looks to New York, and it's narcoleptic.
The motion of gay liberation is like a pinball. Stonewall was the first bumper, followed by the AIDS crisis. But homophobia has been with us always, a greater foe than AIDS. This most recent savage murder is the Third Bumper, but the gay community here risks missing it, and perhaps confounding it for everyone. Shepard's death has done something none of us could have done individually: elicited massive, spontaneous global and bipartisan sympathy.
The golden opportunity here is not to make Shepard a martyr but to start a real dialogue with everyone in our lives. What's next? An end to apathy and the bullshit political dysfunction that has crept into every gay institution in New York City. To see things clearly, you have to climb the tallest tree.
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