I spent 2 1/2 years organizing an LGBT Peer Support Group and our first meeting was today. I sat down in the group of about 45 because I was told that I would not be allowed to facilitate, for whatever reason. Which was OK, so long as the group was happening.

We needed to be brought together for community support, a place to be comfortable, to breath a little without fear. 
Instead, it was disastrous. A complete failure. I was heartbroken, all my hard work was pissed on by people who had no idea what it took to get there. The group all but shut down. I asked to address them, after all most of them there were expecting for me to be the facilitator. Instead of a welcome from staff I was warned.

When the person who did help me get this going was finally able to make it, she took over things smoothly. I was happy with her being there as facilitator because she at least knew the direction it needed to go. However, she was not able to stay and left it to her associates who seemed to be more lost then caring. Wanting me to help but not be seen as the one leading…

As people we get this done to us all the time. We have a baby and we want to nurture it and make sure it has its footing before its savagely tried by reality. I know all to well what if feels like to dedicate so much effort into something and have it fail, through no fault of your own. Its disheartening and it hurts. 

Please do not give up, I’m speaking to myself here as well, because you have no idea who is needing you to succeed more than you. Our success often means the success of so many more besides ourselves. As LGBT people we are looked at as weak, feminized, and over sexualized. Well I am here to tell you we are far from all that. 

Everything we do that is successful is pertinent and important for those coming after us. Just as those before us have done, we owe it to ourselves and each other to not quit, even when a bureaucracy laden system is drastically missing the mark in your name…keep fighting for what’s right and what’s needed.

So much of me wants to give up, stop all my efforts and go back to just doing me. Screw everyone else. So long as I have no problems, I’m good. If someone wants a big change, they will have to do it themselves. However, I am reminded why I began this journey in the first place, it was because I was hurting and in need of support. I was committed to making sure that no one else felt like that again. So I am going to keep going, despite my complete embarrassment, despite the fact I feel like I was railroaded, despite the fact that I feel like 2 1/2 years of hard work just got pissed on….despite that, I am still going to press on. So should you.

On a side note, I would hope that at some point someone could help? Perhaps I could help you? Take a chance, I’m not such a bad person and together we could change the world. Even if we only make it part way, we would have done better than most…

With Love
Jeff Utnage