Andrea Adams

I went to a party last night.   It was a group of LGBT people and their allies gathered together at a bar in Hometown, U.S.A.

I went because the guest of honour was a transwoman, Andrea Adams.   It was her birthday.

And they wanted to celebrate her because she built a bridge.  The Bridge, actually, and as an organization it made a difference to their lives.

As Andrea was getting her own social services credentials and funding sources, she had a stroke.   And she has been sick again since.

I haven’t seen her since before all this happened, many years ago.  I had my own family to care for.

Her partner rolled her into the bar last night, and she sat, looking broken and hurting.  She smiled when she saw me, remembering me, and that was good.

I sat next to her, even as she had her first sip of wine and then spat up, requiring her partner — they have been together since they were both gay men — to get towels to clean it up.  Her right hand wasn’t working, and she was very difficult to listen to.

She felt sad that she couldn’t remember much about me, that there was so much that was missing from her life.  I held her hand and stroked her back as members of the crowd, a group that had come together because of her efforts, came over to tell her how much of a difference she had made.

She found a way to tell what she wanted me to do:   Take care of yourself, she told me, and value every day.

Her words reminded me of my father on his deathbed, telling me that I had spoken well for him and my mother, but now it was time to speak for me.

We have our heroes in the trans communities, the people who got out there and made a difference.   They weren’t big deals in big ways, but people who just reached out past  the boundaries of gender and identity to build bridges and make community.

Andrea is one of those people.  And the people she brought together gathered to celebrate her birthday last night.

She left early last night.

But she left a legacy and lots of good work for the rest of us to do.

Thank you, Andrea.

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