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Eminence, the emeritis cardinal archbishop of HGN

Thursday, June 16, 2016

My Memorial To Those Who Died At Pulse Night Club In Orlando

Corner of Halsted and Roscoe 2010

This is from my handwritten journal entry dated November 14, 1986. The place is Halsted Street in Chicago and the bar was called Christopher Street in 1986. Now the bar is called Hydrate. I was 43 years old then. I also call it middlescence. Sometimes it takes that long to really own who you are.

I post this to honor the lives of those lost in the attack on the Pulse Night Club in Orlando. I want to honor their courage, their search, their youth, and their openness. I also post this because catholic leaders have been negligent in recognizing that this was an attack on GLBTQ persons. It was also an attack on a place where gay men could find themselves.

I continue to remember in a private and personal way those lives lost in this horrific attack on a place of safety for gay and lesbian people and their friends.

Here is my verbatim journal entry, November 14, 1986.

Last night I walked through the door I had been standing in front of for the past week or so. I walked through it into a gay bar. It took me two hours to get up the courage to do that.

My reactions. I found a place at the bar with a bit of space around me, pulled a stool over and sat down. Shortly a man came by, put his arms around me at the shoulders from the back and I thought; “gee that was quick.” I realized I was sitting in an over the counter entrance to the back of the bar. I sat for about two hours there. I tried to observe what the protocols were. Most fellows were there with a friend. I was alone which has been part of the story. I tried to catch a couple of guys eyes but got no response. There were already a few fellows who already had too much to drink. Most were young and very good looking. They didn’t look frightened. They didn’t look particularly maladjusted. One small and very young fellow came in stood against the wall and soon was drawn into a conversation. There was something, I’m sure going on in the other part of the building. Conversation was slow for me. I think I might have been sitting next to two priests. They were a little over dressed. They never seemed to invite an opening to talking.

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