"Remember me, but ah, forget my fate"Editorial
I've been in a weird place for the past couple days and today is no exception.
On February 5th, 1981, Toronto police raided four bathhouses, rounded up its LGBTQ+ patrons, and arrested them in a mass arrest that hadn't been paralleled until the G20 Summit a few years ago.
So, everyone's favourite A-list mezzo, the incomparable Joyce DiDonato (#FullOnToner #PitchPerfectReference) shared a lovely gift with my people.
In honour and remembrance of Mark Carson who was shot and killed in 2013 (a murder now deemed a hate crime), DiDonato performed "When I Am Laid In Earth" from Dido and Aeneasoutside the Stonewall Inn. The 1969 Stonewall raids in New York City prompted the creation of the Gay Pride movement, which is now an international phenomenon that, despite some detractors' arguments that it is nothing but a commercial cash-grab, is still prevalent and important and poignant. The LGBTQ+ community has fought many a battle over the years. Now, to have some high-profile allies paying tribute to those brave men and women who paved our way, and to the brothers and sisters we are still losing to intolerance, so I can be the free gay man I am today, literally (and I'm using this term correctly, folks) makes me misty.
I honour the memory of those we've lost. I cherish the friendships of those who are still with us. I yearn for a future where people are just people.
But in the meantime we have beautiful music made by beautiful people to remind us that even though for "Mainstream" queers, the battles may be easier – the war on intolerance is far from over.
I hope more people see this beautiful rendition of one of my favourite arias (yes, it's Baroque) because as she puts it, "… in the end, we're all in this together."
Check out her performance on NPR Music's "Field Recordings" here.
To read a first hand account of the Toronto bathhouse raids, please check out this piece by Toronto Star's Nicki Thomas.