I lost an ally and friend over the weekend. I just found out about this a few hours ago and I feel empty and horrible inside. I had gotten to know Kurt Cunningham over the past year as we both became suicide prevention trainers together under the Question Persuade Refer (QPR) training program. He also attended the same Suicide Prevention Council Meetings I did. We saw a lot of things the same way. He was really supportive of my blog and we would meet for coffee and he would grill me with all sorts of questions about what I was experiencing as a detransitioner. He was really curious about why I hated the term “cis” and seemed to totally getit when I explained it to him. I know he was trying to understand and get things right … just has he was trying to understand other parts of the LGBT community he cared so deeply about but at times some of the more dogmatic infighting left him completely exasperated and I think that is why he and I had a lot to talk about. He was always asking me to critique his presentation that he would do around the community in his capacity as a mental health worker and advocate about the “new new” terminology around lgbt issues. (He also would get similar advice from other stakeholders in the community … again he wanted to get it right.)
So as I keep saying (excusing) I have been busy. I have been away for the past six weeks from people and projects I care about since I started school, I guess you kind of expect people will still be there when you get back. When you are ready they will be there for you. Life doesn’t work that way though. Once again I feel empty and heartbroken inside. Kurt had told me that our little get togethers did him good … that it was ok to bother him because he probably needed breaks and diversions. They did me good too. Like me though hewas busy though too. Maybe even busier than I was. Both of us spinning our little wheels trying to save the world. I know I am missing a lot of stuff that is falling away right in front of me. Do I need to go to school to learn how to return an email or call a friend? It all seems so pointless and hopeless sometimes.
I was really looking forward to getting to know Kurt better this year and to work with him on a few things going forward that we had both been talking about. I know Kurt touched thousands of people and did make a difference. (I suspect he also pissed a lot of people off too … we had something in common there.)
I know a lot of people are also saying that we need to respect Kurt’s choice and that there is no blame here. People are pointing out that he was sick with depression and he didn’t take care of himself as much as he should have. This was inevitable.
For those of us who knew Kurt I guess we all need to find a story that makes sense to us. Sometimes that is hard to do in a world where nothing seems to make sense. I needed this guy around. Someone told me he is in a better place now. His pain is at long last over. Kurt shared pretty openly about his experiences being bullied from an early age. I do think that there is still something about this world that is unforgiving in a way that chases some of us out of here sooner than their time. I still want to see a world where people like Kurt decide to stick around a little longer.