Like many in our community, I am feeling the loss of Pride Family member and friend Christopher Sheehan. While I got to know Christopher through Pride, he was someone who volunteered for so many of our local organizations like Diversionary Theatre, Gay for Good, Lambda Archives, and many more. As a photographer, he helped us capture and share some of our most joyful moments. That’s how I remember him, filled with joy. Brimming with happiness to support those around him. Overflowing with love. Smiling his way into every room with his bubbly voice, a comforting reminder of his warm heart.
Christopher and I also bonded as survivors of sexual assault. When I began being more public about some of my personal experiences as a survivor, he was one of the many local community members who reached out to say he had similar experiences. He, in true Christopher form, asked how he could help.
We supported each other through our healing and came together with other local survivors to start what became the LGBTQ Survivor Task Force which would go on to create the #MeTooLGBTQ Conference to help others in our community have more culturally competent support available. He gave from his own healing to help others heal.
I’m grateful for Christopher’s untethered jubilation, his resolve, his resilience, and his relentless altruism. Suicide prevention doesn’t just take one form. It’s destigmatizing mental health issues, combating rape culture, ending discrimination, making healthcare and housing accessible, and so much more. It’s building a community where we all feel welcomed and safe. In many ways, those are parts of Christopher’s legacy, and they can be parts of all of our ongoing work.
To each of you, your struggles are valid. Your journey is valid. You are valid, beautiful, and loved. I hope that your justice and your joy are closer than they can seem at times. Let’s continue to lift each other up so Together We Rise.
With Love and Hope,
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride
P.S. This is Suicide Prevention Month, and today is Suicide Prevention Day. If you, or someone you know, is in need of resources, know they are available. You’re not alone.
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Sexual / Relationship Violence