Northwest Youth Corps first Queer Crew 2017 Graduation Speech
Queerly beloved, we are gathered here to-gay to celebrate the last day of NYC’s session, but also the last day of NYC’s first Queer Crew’s session. It has been quite the month for us woodsy gays. Being in the LGBTQ+ community bonds us, sure, but now we can say that we have climbed mountains together, braved rattle snake infested canyons together, and have literally been marooned on an island in the Pacific with dwindling food and an indeterminate departure time. Add the normal strain of regular old NYC living, plus the pressure of being the first all queer conservation crew, and you get a family of individuals who can wear hard hats as well as we can wear rainbow glitter, and cut down saplings as well as we can tear down preconceived expectations about our abilities because of our sexualities or genders.
We did this together. In the coming months, as we cross off the days on calendar pages, and in the coming years as we await Queer Conservation Corps, this will not leave us. Incoming queer crews will have their stories after us, but we had the privilege of being the first page. In that, in our work, in our memories, and in our lives, we will take pride.
Ariana and Lee, thank you for teaching us to bash back.
Queer Crew Member, 2017