By Appio Hunter
I recently had the great honor and privilege of participating in Intersections: Performance Readings from the Writings of LGBT Adults and Their Allies, which was a joint project between SAGE Utah and Art Access. I can honestly say that Intersections counts as a major crossroad in my life, because I have been greatly impacted for the better. I not only got to read, but also to listen to powerful stories that encompassed virtually the entire LGBT experience in Utah. I got to work with two wonderful actors – Nell Gwynn and Chris Lemon – who are consummate performers and first-rate storytellers. Our director, Charles Lynn Frost, masterfully and lovingly guided us so that we could bring these vital stories to life.
By far, the most humbling part of my experience came from interacting with the writers and the audience members. I loved seeing their faces as they connected to the stories. I smiled at their joy, soared with their laughter, and shared in their tears. I felt their reverence and experienced their gratitude. I have been deeply touched by every individual I got to know in person or through the stories they told. My thanks and affection go out to each of you.
As I reflected on my experience, I realized that every story, every experience, has laid the foundation for the changes taking place around us. The institutions of fear and hate are crumbling, and in spite of headlines that would have us believe that the world is falling apart, I see a world that is becoming more generous, kind, and inclusive. Love isn’t an idea that is merely expressed in song. It is practiced and experienced every day by each of us.
Yes, there are those who still face bigotry and violence, but we needn’t look far to experience their opposite. For me, I see the “barriers” of culture, labels, language, race, or religion as illusions because when we aren’t taught to fear or hate each other, we instinctively love. Love is as automatic and natural to us as breathing. It is an action as much as it is a feeling, and it is woven into the very fabric of who we are.
This is what made Intersections so special to me. The stories bridged many themes, but I found that one theme unified them all: Love. Love of self, love of spouse, love of children, love of friends, love of adventure, love of life. Even those stories that spoke of the loss of love still had the beautiful memories of love at their core.
Mathematics may be the universal language of science, but the universal language of everything is love. Let us remember that as we go about our daily lives. Let us remember that as we let go of our fears and anxieties, and as we allow ourselves to simply experience our lives, we will discover that love will always find us and unite us.
Gay Writes is a DiverseCity Series writing group, a program of SLCC’s Community Writing Center. The group meets the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month, 6:30-8pm, 210 E. 400 South, Ste. 8, Salt Lake.