a short autobiography
1999 Speech at the Indiana State Capitol
A friend's witness
Nov. 1996 letter for the Chrysler Campaign
|Tragedy in the Heartlands
To all those who have been in the trenches and feel the stress of burnout:
Burnout is a problem that afflicts many dedicated people. I think the risk of burnout is less likely when you are closer to the battle line. I have been asked to speak at many different large metropolitan areas in this last year. One thing I continuously encounter is shock at the horror stories that is daily life for GLBT people and their families in the Heartland of our country. I know that homophobia, hatred and fear abound in all communities. But for many small communities across the nation this is still 1950's...with the 1950's mindset.
I have done 15 speaking engagements this last year. I still have not conquered my fear of public speaking. Each engagements is a gut-wrenching war with my number one phobia. Sometimes I whoop the dragon; sometimes it whoops me.
Rumors has it that my ex-minister is threatening to file a libel civil suit against me for telling my story. My home has been broken into twice within the last six weeks. Nothing is ever taken. It is as though someone wants us to know that their menacing presence has been here. The police asked if we had any enemies. Now we are beginning to receive harassing phone calls with a mechanized voice.
I am having personal crisis issues going on in my life. My response to all this.. well, I plan to take a huge step in being more out in my community by approaching all the local newspapers about our chapter's presence in their community and to promote the hotline number for the national Family-to-Family hotline.
Their faces, their eyes, their stories haunt me. They build a fire in my belly...a fire so intense that it threatens to consume me, if I do not take action. These are our children, our brothers, our sisters. They are bleeding. They are dying. And they are bleeding and dying in a world that does not give a damn about them. They need us. Oh, god, how they need us.
Please take the much deserved respite to ease the burden of burnout. But please do not forget their plight and those on the front lines who have to step in, if we have a need to step down. Our respites some in small victories that are few and far between. Rest, relax and then come back with renewed vigor to fight. For this indeed is a war...a war in which the only bodies that lie at our feet are those of our GLBT loved ones.
Forgive me. It is not I who speaks but the fire that burns within.
Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999 by Rhea Murray.
Rhea Murray can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.