Raise your glass for life



The toast: the act of raising a glass in honor or recognition of a person or event. We toast at dinners, weddings, business commencements and parties.  In the broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” they declare a toast, “L’Chaim!” meaning, “To life!” Tonight, Soundbar does the same.

At 9 p.m., Soundbar on the corner of South Limestone and Upper Street and its patrons [who are over 21] will raise their glasses in the name of life itself — no more, no less. After all, no cause is as honest or universal to us all than that of long life. But, you may ask, why host an entire event “to life?”

Because some are taking our lives away.

“It Gets Better Lexington,” a grassroots fundraiser inspired by the anti-gay-suicide YouTube Movement of the same name intends to bring together all those who not only insist on the cessation of hate and intolerance, but insist on protecting individuals on the fringe between life and death.

Soundbar is matching $500 of revenue from the night’s toast to be donated to The Trevor Project, a non-profit charged with averting GLBT suicide. Lexington Fairness has pledged to match the money put up by Soundbar. At the event tonight, those who attend may also film their own, “It Gets Better” videos, recounting their own stories of struggle and speaking out against prejudice and the blood it spills.

The “It Gets Better” movement has been criticized with varying vehemence. Clint McCance, a school board executive in Midland, Ark., posted on his Facebook account, “They want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way I’m wearing it is if they all commit suicide…It pisses me off that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags can’t procreate. I also like that they often give each other AIDS and die.” McCance has since resigned from his position with the school board after his message of abhorrence went viral worldwide.

With less pure odium and more puzzlement, some have asked what makes gay suicides a particular tragedy worthy of attention apart from that of heterosexuals, and these questioners are absolutely right. There is nothing more or less valuable about the life of a gay person than a straight one, and for this the cause carries credence: Suicide universally rescues those from the things they cannot change.

The tongue is sharper than the sword and the rancor spewed by bigots cut our brothers and sisters down to the bone. We all live innocently as no more or less than who we are. Those of us who then turn to self-mutilation do nothing unfamiliar to them; rather they finish the job their revilers all but already have. We must cease to speak. Our antipathies are taking lives away.

So let us toast. May we be brave beyond the temptation to escape the things about ourselves we cannot change. May we be compassionate enough to gaze upon those we do not understand and before leaking our repugnance, may we simply shut up. May we simply say, “My brother, my sister, we are not alike. Here’s to us. L’chaim.”

For more information on tonight’s event, visit “Soundbar Lexington” on Facebook.

For more information on the Trevor Project, visit www.TheTrevorProject.org.