First, I’d like to thank all of you for your warm love and strong support over the years. You never cease to amaze me with how truly extensive and long-lasting your support has been. I am always hearing about your messages being posted on Twitter and Facebook, and more than anything else, I love getting letters and cards from you all. I often receive so many that I can hardly keep up with them.
This time last year many of us were here celebrating the Supreme Court ruling across the United States. This year, tragedy looms over the entire queer and trans community, and this month’s shooting in Orlando reminds us. Our community had already suffered its fair share of loss, setbacks, anger, and devastation, during all the countless years before the movement’s rise at Stonewall Inn.
The San Francisco Bay Area community has had a lot to deal with over the years. The Harvey Milk assassination and Dan White’s subsequent acquittal. Watching thousands of our siblings die during the HIV epidemic in the 80s and 90s. Suffering through Prop 8 passing and then rejoicing later at achieving full marriage equality, once and for all. At the same time, as we face this violent tragedy, we are fighting against mean and discriminatory bathroom laws. Today, we witness a dangerous militarized presence here at Pride, theoretically for our own protection. Despite the circumstances, it truly warms my heart that you’ve all come out to support me today — In San Francisco, New York, and even Seattle — and earlier this month, in Boston, Philadelphia, and Salina.
I needed a little time by myself last week to mourn. I went over the profiles of the victims in Time, People, and the New York Times. In the absence of a vigil to attend, I instead meditated in my cell listening to soft ambient music.
A few weeks ago, I filed my appeal. Among other things, I challenge the length of my sentence, the unfairness of the conditions my pre-trial solitary confinement, and the unconstitutionality of the Espionage Act.
Thanks for all your continued support during the duration of my ongoing fight. I am hearing your outspoken voices. I can see your beautiful pictures. I can read all of your colorful and thoughtful words. I feel your endless love. I know that — despite our distance apart, and the fact that the public is not allowed to see me or hear my voice — I am not forgotten. I want you to know that you all are not forgotten either. You all mean a lot to me and give me the strength to keep going, every day