I think I need a hero.
I need an actual, real life hero; otherwise I’m going to continue having pieces of my life torn out of it.
And I don’t know how to make that happen.
Where do I get the sugar, spice, and everything nice, mixed with an adequate amount of charisma, intelligence, physical and mental capabilities and the natural talent and will to get the hero I need?
Where’s my magical non-harmful radiation that turns us into Captain America or any other amount of hero’s I read about and watch on screens?
My chosen family is made of incredible people – everyday heroes that I love.
These people fight every day to survive against the odds: against ableism and mental illness and racism and transphobia and homophobia and more.
And as a person who is also fighting for my survival it is the survival of my family, of my community, that reminds me that there’s a chance. A possibility. A hope.
But sometimes, you need a hero.
Because my friends and community keep getting hurt, keep getting rejected, keep dying.
Dying. My friends are dying. Another yesterday. Who knows when the next is.
I need a hero.
Somebody that can tell me that everything will be alright and then can go out and make it so.
Make it happen.
Before more things happen that can never be taken back.
There’s this thing that happens when you’re a minority or marginalized or oppressed – you keep track of statistics.
And the worst part is, is I know that some of the people I will never meet, never hear about, will only ever be remembered as that. A statistic.
I want to tell you a story.
A story about a friend who stood on a street corner with a sign that said “Remember to Smile!” and danced.
He danced because he spent so much of his life dancing on the edge of never having a reason to smile and he wanted people to have a reason.
And believe me – he was noticed.
From the stories he told of people interacting with him, and his asking for other inspiring quotes to hold up, and the picture you can find of him dancing with that sign, he was noticed.
I hope that’s how he’ll be remembered.
I need a hero so that he can have justice.
So that we can start to fix the system that is supposed to help people and yet turns people away.
I need a hero so that I don’t have to look at the spiral of intersectional statistics of trans folk and queer folk and people of colour and mentally ill folk and disabled folk and look at some of my friends and wonder if they’re next.
If I’m next.
I need a hero who can help me and my family and my communities shove this world along.
I need a hero because I can’t shelter every trans person, I can’t love every queer person, I can’t help every mentally ill person, I can’t.
I can’t and I can’t be expected to.
And these are my movements, my people, my family, my life; but we need a hero because just look at this world.
We need a hero because I don’t know how much longer we can wait for one.
(P.S. To my friend; I will miss you for a long, long, time, and will remember you fondly. I wish this world could’ve done you the good and justice you deserved and given you the care you needed.)
© 2015, letter by Colin Stewart, All rights reserved; illustration, Karen Arnold, Public Domain Pictures.net.