“I’m going to kill you, faggot.”

It was a voice on the answering machine. Reported it to the campus police, and they could trace a phone number, but it was a semi-public line and no person could be connected to it. It was dropped.

That was the first personal death threat, while I was an undergraduate. Those have been, thankfully, few and far between. Street harassment, being driven out of a bar by calls of “we hate faggots,” having waitstaff at an LGBT conference don latex gloves to serve us, having customers complaint to management about the gay cashier (me), having fast food workers remove a full ketchup container after a couple of us homos used it, having relatives intentionally ignore  a long-term relationship…

…things come rushing back in moments like this.

It’s always lurking, and you know it’s there because you’ve experienced it before.

But, you’re alive. You feel lucky that it was only harassment or threats or those latex micro-aggressions. You’re alive and your body has not been ravaged. The fear may arise, the knowledge that you can’t pass. But, you’re alive to remember the hatred and the hurts, to witness the violence. To proclaim that not only are you alive, but that we matter.

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