So I continued, after Herman’s deeply authentic talk at Hive about why marriage means so much to him as a man of (now) 30, a Catholic man, a man with a strong family background, and a gay man, to investigate as a journalist gay marriage issues throughout the world in an effort to write The Gay Play.
So far I have rapidly prototyped a story of modern characters based on the saints Sebastian and Felicity, casting them as brother and sister about to marry Paulinus and Galla in a double wedding when their other sibling, Francis/Francesca goes missing after the Pulse nightclub shooting.
I’m not sure this is that story, the one that will tell a story of the struggle and most of all of love that drives the push for LGBTQ rights.
Thursday, May 31, I was photographing Greenwich Village in a mist that created a fanciful, silver fairy-light on all of it. After trying to capture the peaceful quiet brought by the rainy conditions, I happened upon the Stonewall National Monument, a patch of greenery on a road island just across from the Stonewall Inn.
It was there I discovered the sculpture Gay Liberation by George Segal. Cast in bronze and lacquered in ghostly white, the sculpture depicts two men standing, and two women seated, in easy, casual, loving but not particularly erotic poses. I tried to view them from different angles, and tried to see what they see in the Village in so doing. I margined them as modern-day Sebastian and Paulinus, Felicity and Galla.
On this 50th anniversary, also, of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, I wish we could count the number of people who have put themselves at risk, who have died so they and others could be who they are. Most of human rights is about at the very least accepting the humanity of the person before you who may not look or believe or love exactly the way you do. Every religion and every humanistic ethical practice, too, urges us to love the other exactly as we love ourselves, to pour into others and create a greater humanity, a place we can all live.
St. Augustine said to love another, we must believe in volo ut sis: I want you to be.
Yet in our nation there is so much, “If only they weren’t…” and “if it wasn’t for them,” and “if it wasn’t for you.”
#TheGayPlay is in development, alongside Maximalista, which is going up at NY Summerfest August 30, September 1-2, and Elvira, the Druggist, which will have a reading at University of South Dakota’s John R. Milton Conference Oct. 27-29.
Just before I left, I saw a guide bring a group of Italian-speakers inside the gates of the monument and, gesturing to the Stonewall Inn and the statues, tell the story of the monument and liberazione. I could see in their eyes they were learning, understanding. A child among them ran up to the seated statue of the women and wrapped his arms around one of them.
“We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.”
~Lin Manuel Miranda