I’ve heard people say the story of our lives is best told in the snapshot of those who show up for our funeral. Final services for members of the LGBTQ+ community in the South are often layered with stigma and controversy. Due to grief (and sometimes denial), families often eulogize the person in a way that is more reflective of who they wish the person was (rather than who they actually were at the time of their passing).
In the mid 2000s, Loomy juice was an increasingly popular natural drink, rumored to contain ingredients with organic healing qualities. Sam seemed to drink multiple bottles a week, combining every swallow with his incredible faith. I would later come to find out why he felt he needed both to survive.
Ted Winn, a gospel artist who grew up in Black churches, has known between 40 and 50 people who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. He says, “I choose to not allow them to be ‘othered’ or described as deviants, but people who were seeking love, relationship, affirmation, and happiness.”
The denial of HIV’s early impact was so severe in some African American faith communities that ‘church cancer’ became the colloquial term used when explaining the cause of death for the formerly embraced, now stigmatized (and socially-abandoned) gay men who passed away from AIDS complications.
Randevyn is a Colorado native, and matriculated from Colorado Technical University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Master’s degree in Business Administration.