Pride and Patrol

A small portion of Seattle Q Safety Patrol marching in Seattle LGBT Pride, late 1990’s. (I’m smiling at the camera, and wearing the radio.)

For two years – now almost 20 years ago – I volunteered with Q Safety Patrol (and concurrently, the Seattle chapter of the Guardian Angels). In later posts, I’ll discuss my own experiences, and provide interviews with other patrollers willing to share theirs.

For today, I’m borrowing the words that Joker [street name] sent out to the Patrol family a few days after Orlando:

“You have been on my mind for the last few days and there are few things I want to say to you. I remember you. I remember the heart, tears, and long hours you gave to your community to keep them safe. I remember the excitement you felt when you were at the right place at the right time and were able to stop violence. I remember the anguish you felt when you weren’t. I remember how hard you worked to train yourself to be able to physically put your body in harms way to save another. I remember how hard you trained yourself to be able to speak while the adrenaline was pulsing through you. I remember. I know that you are aching right now. Being the protectors that you are, I know that you wish you could have stopped this. That you, having your eyes and ears on the ground might have seen something and been able to prevent this. There are ways in which we mourn this tragedy and others targeting our community that your loved ones might not understand. I want you to know that I do. I love you. It has been over a decade since we closed our doors. You remain a part of who I am and how I move through the world. I see your faces in my dreams. I wonder about your life now and hope that you are happy and well. Thank you. For everything that you did and that you do every single day. I am honored to have a history with you, to have been the ones who stood up when we were needed and when we were asked. You are my brothers and sisters, my family. One last thing, please take care of yourselves. Ask for help when you need it. Share your grief. Let it move through you.”

Thank you, Joker. Though time and distance have separated most of us from each other, it helps to feel and remember the profound ways in which we will always be connected.