A national LGBTQI+ storytelling project curated by Maeve Marsden
featuring a book, event series and an award-winning podcast

A national LGBTQI+ storytelling project curated by Maeve Marsden
featuring a book, event series and award-winning podcast

Queerstories 2020 | Pandemic | Holly Zwalf & Kerry Bashford

Queerstories 2020 is a special series of the Queerstories podcast recorded during the lockdown months of 2020, featuring LGBTQI+ storytellers reflecting on the events of the year.

This episode’s stories both speak to medical intervention, to fear and to hope, and they’re both about pandemics, in their own way.

Kerry Bashford started his queer career as a baby activist, organising rallies at the age of 18 in 1982, before escaping south to the big smoke. After several years of apprenticeship in gay, street and independent presses and countless queer arts endeavours, he scored a job at NineMSN where he worked as Producer of Online Portal and Entertainment and ended up as movie critic for the network.  He ended his corporate career and became a copywriter, buying an apartment near the beach back in Newcastle where he lives as a semi-retired journalist, which is a polite way of describing an unemployed writer of a certain age.

Holly Zwalf is a queer solo parent by choice who lives in a little log cabin in the bush with her wild child. She’s a filmmaker, freelance writer, performer, and smutty spoken word artist, and in her spare time, of which she has none, she is the coordinator of Rainbow Families QLD.


Hello, I’m Maeve Marsden and you’re listening to Queerstories. Actually, you’re listening to Queerstories 2020. What’s the difference, I hear you ask? Well, if you’re new to this podcast you won’t know that normally, that is in a normal year, I travel around Australia hosting packed out live events full of raucous chatter, flirtation and queers telling stories, I record these stories and package them up for you dear listener, here on the podcast. But of course, this hasn’t been a normal year.

(SOUND FX – News headlines overlapping)

As you’re all no doubt aware, starting in March venues began shuttering, and as I speak to you now in November – they’re only just beginning to cautiously re-open, and the sort of riotous rubbing of shoulders and spit swapping of Queerstories-past, well it still seems a very long way away.

(SOUND FX – Crowd cheering from Queerstories)

Yeah, I miss that.

(SOUND FX – Crowd cheering, Maeve wishing everyone a good night – fade out)

You cannot keep a good queer podcast down, however, and with the very generous help of a City of Sydney Creative Fellowship grant, Queerstories 2020 is here to put some stories in your ears, this time not recorded at live events, but in bedrooms and sharehouses and on farms and out bush and in reluctant relocating to parents’ houses – 24 stories, spanning continents, decades, lives, dreams, and the vast array of multitudinal queerness that our community contains.

These stories have brought me a lot of comfort and joy as they’ve trickled in over the last little while, and I hope they do the same for you, wherever you are. This is still Queerstories, but even more intimate, if that is possible.

Today I have two stories for you. They both speak to medical intervention, to fear and to hope, and they’re both about pandemics.

First up – Holly Zwalf is a writer, filmmaker, performer and spoken word artist who lives in a little log cabin in the bush, and is the coordinator of Rainbow Families QLD.


In late February 2020 my wonderfully wild grandmother, who I called Lulu, died suddenly, at the age of 98. She’d had a bloody good innings but I was so sure that she’d make 100 that I was completely in shock for a few days. My four year old and I jumped on a plane to the UK for her funeral. While I was packing up her house my partner, who was very close but not quite ready to give birth yet, called me. He’d had a minor car accident, but was worried the stress was sending him into early labour. I was terrified I’d miss the birth so in a mad panic my child and I caught an emergency flight back home that same day, missing the funeral.

The bastard didn’t go into labour after all. Two days after arriving back, however, I came down with a nasty fever. It wasn’t that bad though because by the next day, and after a hefty dose of Panadol, we still managed to have a really hot fuck against the kitchen cupboards while the kids were asleep in bed, but people were starting to talk about this thing called coronavirus so on the Monday I went to the doctor just to check. By that point my fever had come down, so he said I was fine. Turns out I wasn’t.

It was still such early days, so I really don’t blame him, and besides, the symptoms of COVID are so similar to run-of-the-mill shitty influenza that back then it was hard to know when to be alarmed. It wasn’t until a week later when my partner’s child woke up shaking so hard in the top bunk that the rattling woke my child up in the bottom bunk, that we thought anything more of it. We thought it was “just” a fever but we had no kiddie Panadol so we drove him to the nearest hospital. The whole 20 minute drive there he was terrified that aliens were going to get him. He kept screaming and waving his arms around, trying to climb out of his car seat. By the time we got to hospital his body was jerking around strangely, and even after heavy doses of drugs the hallucinations hadn’t eased.

It was a regional hospital and there were no specialists, so they got a paediatric team from Brisbane on a big screen in the emergency room. Eventually a nurse asked about my health and when I told them my situation they went pale. We were thrown into a makeshift isolation room and from thereon it was absolute chaos. No one knew what the protocols were. People kept forgetting their masks. They couldn’t find the nasal swabs, or anyone who knew how to use them. We were cold and hungry and worst of all our phones were nearly dead, but we weren’t allowed to leave to get clothes or food or chargers.

And then our child went limp and unresponsive and the doctor gathered him up into her arms and raced him out to recuss. We all followed in a panic. She started trying to get an IV line into his veins. Blood was spurting everywhere and I remember holding him down with one hand, boiling hot coffee in the other, while my child crawled in between my feet playing. When he came round they flew a team up from Brisy to move him to a larger hospital further south. My partner followed in his car, and my child and I were sent home to self-isolate until I got my results. On the drive home I heard Annastacia Palaszczuk on the radio saying that every hospital in Queensland had just undergone coronavirus training and they were completely prepared to handle it. I laughed.

The next day I fussed round the house baking and sorting out old photos and cleaning the skirting boards. I don’t even have any skirting boards. Eventually that evening they called and said they’d lost my name and number but had finally tracked me down and that congratulations, I had coronavirus. I was the 15th case in Queensland, and my partner was the 16th.

By law I had to go in to hospital, where my partner and his child already were, to isolate. I live off the GPS deep in the bush so they sent a big ambulance down our dirt track and through our creek to collect me and my sleeping child. My mum, who had only arrived back from her mother’s funeral that morning, watched on in horror from a distance as they strapped us on to stretcher beds and carried us across the paddock to the van, that was quickly filling up with mozzies and giant moths. On the drive in all I could think was that I’d given coronavirus to my partner, who has cystic fibrosis and already has shit lungs, and that he and the unborn baby would probably die. The weight of knowing I’d caused all of this was enormous.

When we arrived at the hospital it was like something out of a movie. We went in the back way to avoid the media. The corridors had all been cleared and were being guarded by people in masks. A doctor accidentally walked out of a room as we were wheeled past and they shoved him back into the room yelling “Get back! Get back!” We went straight into a negative pressure isolation room in paediatrics. We had a bathroom, a television, and two beds. I was in one room with my four-year-old, and my partner was in the room next door with his. We were told that if we tried to leave our rooms or visit each other we’d be arrested, but at least we could knock morse code through the wall.

There were no toys or games or access to working internet, and, most concerningly, no one ever did a mental health assessment on any of us. When I eventually told a nurse I didn’t feel mentally ok a social worker called me (because no one wanted to come anywhere near us physically) and suggested I put the meditation channel on the TV to listen to some calming music. Even more crucial, no one ever did an assessment on my partner’s child, who is autistic and ADHD and grew very distressed very quickly. He started self-harming, threatening to kill the doctors, climbing on the equipment, and drawing all over his body. All day I could hear him screaming through the wall and I could hear my partner crying. My partner got so desperate for help that at one point he asked the nurses if they could sedate his child. When I read this script out to him to get him to check everything in it, he was horrified he’d ever done that. But in all that time, with doctors and nurses and specialists examining all four of us every few hours around the clock, not once did anyone comment on or consider any of our mental health. We’d ceased to be human. We’d become a virus. That’s all that they were interested in.

Four year olds have a lot of energy. Normally our day consists of at least one outing to a park, a social activity, and dinner with the grandparents nextdoor. Our options were somewhat limited in our little room. The highlight of our day was having a shower. We live in the bush and we’re on rainwater, and we can never have long showers at home, so this was a bit of a treat. We’d squirt liquid soap from the wall dispenser onto the floor, turn the water on, and slide around together pretending we were ice skating. The shower was also where I’d go to cry. In our room there was a window that had no curtain, so staff could observe us whenever they wanted. The shower was the only place I could ever be alone and know that no one was watching.

Over the next few days my child and I got into a bit of a routine. Every morning before breakfast we’d have a tickle fight on the bed. Then we’d eat. After breakfast I’d call the kitchen to put in our order for the next three meals. I had some thrilling choices to make each day. White bread or brown? Apple or pear? Margarine or butter? Even worse, for some reason kids get dessert with lunch and dinner, but adults only get it with lunch. I felt perpetually ripped off. After that I’d put the TV on to give me some time to call my partner. The hospital was worried that as the virus progressed he’d get sicker and sicker to the point where he’d be too sick to labour. We were worried that we’d end up with a birth situation similar to those we’d been hearing about in China, where they’d performed routine caesareans on all pregnant people, taken the babies away at birth, and denied the parents the chance to chest or breastfeed. Trying to advocate for ourselves from separate rooms while my partner’s child climbed the walls screaming, was fucking hard work, and killed plenty of time. Before I knew it lunch would arrive, and the highlight of my day, dessert.

Every afternoon my child and I would play hide n seek, which only a four year old can find entertaining in a room with nowhere to hide. We’d screw up a piece of paper for a ball and kick it round the room a bit, and then we’d watch some more TV, eat some more bread, and then thankfully it would be time for bed.

On day five two important things happened. One was that we received the first of many care packages from friends and family, and I now had chocolate and craft activities and salad dressing. The other was that my partner locked himself in the toilet crying while his child went on a wild rampage round their room. A wonderful infectious disease person saw this and recognised that his child wasn’t coping, and because he had mysteriously tested negative for coronavirus he was able to be released into a friend’s care. We never actually discovered what had caused him to be so sick that first day.

Midwives kept trying to bully my partner into an induction but my partner stood his ground and demanded some time to sleep and get into a better head space. I lay on the other side of the wall staring into space or playing endless games of solitaire, while my child grew pasty and lethargic. On the day of the induction I got ready early, nervous about the birth and excited to finally see my partner. I spent the morning pacing my room, wondering why he wasn’t replying to my texts. When I was finally escorted to the birthing suite, via the stairs because I wasn’t allowed in the lift with other patients, I walked in and was devastated to hear that the baby was about to arrive. Apparently he’d been asking for me for hours, but they’d never passed this on. He’d also been assured he would be able to use gas during the labour, but when he got to the point where he needed it they refused and said he would infect the gas and put the midwives at a higher risk of infection. There was absolutely nothing I could do but let him squeeze my hand while I supressed my rage. And then the baby was born, perfect and healthy. The first baby born to coronavirus-positive parents outside of China, and the first documented non-caesarean birth in the world. We’d just made international medical history.  Bam. We had a beautiful two hours together while the baby had his first feed, and for a brief moment all of the trauma was forgotten. And then it started all over again. It was time for papa and baby to leave the birthing room and go to the maternity ward but even though we were both COVID positive they wouldn’t let me go with them. I had to go straight back to my room. However I was told I would be able to see them both the next morning, so I poured myself a can of wine my mum had smuggled in for me and ate my boiled broccoli happily.

The next day the story changed. I was told I would have to wait another twenty-four hours to see them, and it wasn’t until I got hysterical and threatened to leave my room that they took the situation seriously. Things got a bit better for us then. They moved my partner and his baby next door to us again, and my child and I were able to visit every day, so long as we were escorted and fully masked, with all our belongings double-bagged and the corridors all cleared. We weren’t allowed to touch anything, and we had to wash our hands carefully each time. Then after nine days of being in hospital the government policy suddenly changed and although my partner and I were both still positive we were all physically fine, so they sent us home to self-quarantine, to free up the beds for patients who needed them. We were stoked and started packing our things, preparing for the usual elaborate measures that accompanied us being moved anywhere around the hospital, but we were confused when they just opened our doors and told us we could go. We wore masks but we were completely unescorted. Our belongings weren’t double-bagged, the corridors weren’t cleared, and we were even able to use the lifts, and touch whatever we liked. After nine days of not being able to even see each other this small detail was actually the one that hurt the most, because it felt like everything we had endured had been for nothing. Our family had been torn apart, and those precious early moments with the new baby had been stolen from me, and for no apparent reason.

We lied to our friends and said we were being moved to another facility because when news first broke that we had coronavirus the backlash from people in our community had been so intense that we were scared for people to know our location. When we got home to my house my partner’s child was dropped off and things immediately got even worse. He was very angry and scared about his time in the hospital and was hurting really badly, and as a consequence his behaviour was violent and out of control. It continued like that every day for a week. He screamed at me if I came near him, pushed my child off the verandah, bit everyone, threw rocks and heavy objects, broke toys and furniture, and was angry and sad most of the time. I wasn’t coping either and got angry and violent back, and my partner and I said some awful things to each other, all while he was vomiting and feverish from his milk coming in. People kept messaging us saying things like: “I hope you’re enjoying the baby bubble now you’re finally home,” but they couldn’t have been further from the truth.

We eventually called Public Health and got approval to finish our quarantine in separate houses because being together wasn’t safe for anyone anymore. We’d missed all the panic buying while we were in hospital, so my partner went home to an empty house with no toilet paper, to care for a newborn baby and a deeply distressed four year old on his own. Public Health refused my request to be able to visit them, and again it was only when I got angry and pushed them to make an exception that they agreed. They had no interest in keeping our family together, and no interest in looking after anyone’s mental health.

Other than reading a couple of newspaper articles about my case, where I was incensed to discover that the newspapers had described me as middle-aged, I’d avoided the news while we’d been sick. So when I finally tested negative, after being in quarantine for over a month, it was a shock to remerge in an entirely different world. The first time I drove to the shops I cried. Everything was so different. There were no cars on the streets. I had to wait in a line to get inside my sleepy local newsagents, and in the supermarket people shuffled round wearing plastic bags on their shoes, gloves on their hands, and masks covering mouths below terrified eyes. I wanted to tell everyone I’d survived, to give other people hope, but I quickly learned that this was not what they wanted to hear. The stigma post-virus is scary. We had workmen refuse to finish jobs at our house, people in town cross the street to avoid us…a GP even physically recoiled from me when I told her I’d had COVID. The principle at my child’s school told me that the other parents had been saying awful things about my family and strongly suggested we not come back until the following term, and I felt so unsupported there that I had to unenroll my kid from the kindy and find a new one, as well as a new primary school for next year. Apparently people in our local community had got pretty nasty about us too, so for the first few weeks I was even too scared to go into town. We’d emerged from having COVID feeling grateful and slightly heroic that we’d survived, only to discover that people were still terrified of us and no one trusted that we were no longer contagious. And as queers living in a small country town this feeling of being othered wasn’t exactly unfamiliar.

As for our family, the ongoing trauma the kids suffered meant that for a few months we had to keep them apart, and as a consequence my partner and I spent the first few months after the baby was born pretty much living separate lives. Things have started to improve lately, and as a family I think we’re finally back to the point we were at before this all started. We’ve still got a long way to go to recover emotionally, but there’s a lot of love between the five of us and a lot of respect too. We were going to take the kids to the snow when it all blew over, to give them a treat after the hell they’ve been through this year. But the borders have started closing again so we’ve had to opt for something a little more low-key. So tomorrow we’re driving up to Rocky, to stay in a caravan park with a jumping pillow and a waterslide and a pool. Most importantly, though, there’s a shower, unlimited water, and heaps of soap, so they’re guaranteed to have a ball.


In the August 1995 edition of Brother Sister Magazine, for you younguns BrotherSister  was a Brisbane gay street rag that folded in 1998 – the following headline appeared: “A shock rise in new HIV diagnoses and infection figures recorded in NSW could indicate a second wave of infection in Australia.”

That particular second wave didn’t eventuate, but speculation over case numbers, and generalised epidemiological editorial was the stock and trade of queer press during the 80s and 90s – it had to be; no one else was reporting the figures.

Our next writer, Kerry Bashford, was the editor of Campaign magazine in the 90’s and I’m going to read you an excerpt from an article he wrote called “Rituals of Loss”

“The rituals that remind us of departed loved ones have become as essential parts of gay life as the celebrations that defy the impact of their loss on our lives. They can be cryptic ceremonies, indecipherable to anyone outside a social circle, or common gestures that have found poignancy in popular culture. Irrespective of whether you wear a personal memento or wrap yourself in red ribbons, these rituals of loss help us to heal and interpret the tragedy as much as they represent a brazen effort to maintain a memory in the face of insurmountable grief.”

Kerry Bashford is still a writer and journalist, now based in Newcastle, NSW. This next story is called “Til The World Feels Right.”


You know you’ve lived an interesting life when a pandemic fills you with post-traumatic stress, when the threat of a global medical catastrophe fills you with a certain knowing nostalgia.

If you were a gay man of a certain age living through the arrival of COVID-19 in 2020, you would have been taken back to another time, to the advent of AIDS in the 80s, and to the following decade of the 90s when treatments improved and it ceased to be a deadly disease. As the world entered isolation in an effort to slow the Corona virus, I imagine ageing queens the world over couldn’t help but have a dreadful sense of déjà vu, wondering if we were about to experience a catastrophe we never thought would happen again.

For years now, since surviving those terrible times, I’ve been asking people a question. It goes something like this:

“Can you think of an equivalent experience to an epidemic like HIV/AIDS, to being a gay man in the 80s and 90s and watching a generation of your peers die during peacetime? Have you seen or experienced anything like that in your lifetime?”

I’ve asked this because I am legitimately curious: I went through an experience that feels unique, yet it can’t be. Surely not. I’m not that special, the circumstances were not that rare, this must be a privileged perspective, a blind spot to the suffering of others.

But still after all these years I have struggled to find a situation similar to that which gay men encountered during the AIDS crisis, and what it was like to live and die in a place like Sydney, Australia in the 80s and 90s.

I never got an answer to that question, by the way. Not until a lifetime after the fact. Well 20 or 30 years which, in the old days, for some of us was a lifetime. Not until now.

One morning in April 2020, as the virus was making its inexorable journey around the globe, I flipped on the phone that day to see a story that was shocking in its familiarity. It was about a small Italian village, where a local newspaper had published a double page spread of the townsfolk who had died that week from COVID-19.

It wasn’t the story that stopped me in my tracks. It was the image, the thumbnail of the broadsheet: the columns of death notices, organised and orderly, belying the chaos of their content, but the form of which I could recognise instantly at a glance. The pic might have been small, the text faint, but I would recognise those grim hieroglyphics anywhere. I had spent my young years doing something a young man should not need to do: reading the obituaries.

To my eye, that village gazette could have been the Sydney Star Observer, a gay community newspaper from 25 years before. And I could have been mourning the loss of my partner, who passed away from AIDS-related cancer in August 1994. Indeed when he died, that issue of the Star carried a two-page tabloid sized spread of the gay men who had succumbed to the fatal virus in the neighbourhood just that week.

But how could it be that misfortunes of a small rural town in Southern Europe resonate with experiences I had living as a young gay man in Sydney decades before? Could this experience I had considered without equal soon have a sequel? Was what I thought once in a lifetime now about to repeat and reprise on a scale far grander than I could have imagined?

From the start of the COVID crisis, I had been slow to make comparisons with the height of HIV/AIDS. Social media seems to exist for the purpose of promoting false equivalences and I was not about to create another one.

Besides the feeling was familiar, yet strange; the similarities were stark, but the differences were also dramatic.

HIV/AIDS relied on bloodborne transmission, COVID-19 was airborne. AIDS was not a common virus, but back then it was in most cases deadly. COVID was rarely deadly but highly infectious. One targeted specific behaviours in certain people, the other came in the very air that we all breathed.

Despite these differences, one thing is as clear today as it was then: some of us may not see the other side of this.

But for those left breathing, the air itself will seem as it has been altered. There will be another normal, we will live a life that feels altogether average, unremarkable, as to be expected. We will surpass this. We will surprise this. We will survive this. But we will never be quite the same. Survivors never are.

For years since the AIDS crisis, I have been trading off that rather dubious accolade, that of the survivor.

I survived long enough to feel shame at the very act of survival. Survivor’s guilt, I believe they call it. It’s a strange thing. You feel guilty for feeling guilty. And you feel guilty for that as well. It’s like Impostor Syndrome, except it’s experienced after the fact. You feel fake, you feel like a fraud, a charlatan, insufficient and inauthentic. The imposter asks themselves, “Why am I here?” The survivor asks, “Why am I still here?”

Why am I still here? I have no fucking idea.

Sure, I listened to the advice and practiced it. Usually. Sure, I did my best to stay safe. Mostly. Certainly if there’s one piece of advice I can share as a survivor of great sickness it’s to listen to the experts.

And somehow I survived. Although to say I survived is something of an exaggeration. I didn’t survive the dreaded immuno-suppressant disease, because I never acquired it in the first place. I didn’t survive the dreaded disease, I survived the ensuing drama. I stood while others dropped. I walked on while others around me fell.

In essence when I asked that question earlier, can you think of a situation similar to surviving the AIDS crisis, what I was trying to do was, to place myself at the centre of the frame, to steal focus and borrow integrity. It was a morbid attempt at self-aggrandisement. Survival makes me feel special, makes my experience seem important, like an old soldier polishing up his medals and parading around because he was once in proximity of a well-known battle.

I can only bear witness because, in my mind, that’s all I was, a witness. But I am that special kind of witness. I am a survivor. Which means in the end I get to own the story, even if it isn’t really mine. But in the end, after this over, this will not be about sickness. This will be about survival. This is about how the world will look once it was over. This is about how you will look once it’s done.

Certainly that survival has shaped my life ever since and it is only in the act of isolation that I truly had time to contemplate my survivor’s guilt. It took this plague for me to sort out the issues left over from the last one.

It was a night not unlike the night I write this in the cold morning hours of August 1994. My partner was in bed, after a busy day sorting through his affairs. He was in the terminal stages of cancer, after years of fighting HIV and AIDS. I was exhausted, and expected, at least hoped, we could get a good night’s sleep to steady us for the demands of the following day.

Suddenly he seemed restless. By this stage, it was nothing surprising or new. This happened every night. I jumped to action, trying to sort out what was wrong, trying to help him through another hardship, ease another agony. As I fussed around the bed, rearranged the pillows and covers, I finally stopped and gave him what he really needed. I was trying as always to help him when all he needed was for me to hold him. I was trying to make him feel comfortable when all he needed was comfort.  I finally took him in my arms and held him tight, just long enough to feel him slip away. I looked down and he was gone.

This is that thing that I survived and that thing about which I feel the greatest guilt. That in those final moments, I could not make it better, that I could not stop trying to save him long enough to make him feel safe.

All I can say in my defence is this: my darling, I didn’t know you were dying.

Imagine that. After all that, after so much rehearsal, I didn’t know what was happening. After all those years together, living in the shadow of terminal illness, and being told these were his last days, I didn’t understand these were our final moments. Despite always anticipating the end, I didn’t see it coming and arrived just in time to embrace it. But in all this time, I have failed to understand what I was holding so close to my heart.

It is only in the period of this pandemic that I have come to appreciate what really happened that night and how it has affected me ever since. Ever since my partner passed in the early ’90s, I have been acting out that death scene in one way or another. It’s a ghoulish admission, to be sure, and it was a gruelling realisation, I can tell you. I think I’m still trying to save him, just as I have tried to rescue practically every partner since, whether they needed it or not or whether they wanted it or not. For 25 years, I have been living out a moment which I thought was a memory but has in fact become my metier, my entire reason for being. I have been trying to save the partner I lost a quarter of a century ago and it’s time for me to stop.

And what would I do if I had that moment again. Well I would have held him longer and harder perhaps, and told him what I had told him so many times, that I loved him and he had made such a difference to my life. You see, he saved me. He rescued me. It’s just a shame that in the end, I was powerless to return the favour.

I need to understand, there is nothing I could have said, or indeed sung, that would have made a difference to my partner’s death. Nothing I could have done in all my dreamings and imaginings since then.

For the longest time I imagined I would tell him a story or sing him a song, something we both loved, a kind of lullaby. But lullabies are the song of survivors. They have nothing to offer the dying. They are meant to reassure children to rest so they are strong enough to face the following day. They are mean to offer comfort for those who can carry on.

So I will save my song for you dear listener, for anyone listening, but mostly for the man asleep in the next room, who I want so much to love and protect.

I don’t want him to be troubled by any of this, by these memories, it all happened at another time. He was not even alive when my late partner lived. Hell, he wasn’t even alive during the AIDS crisis. He’s not responsible for anything I have remembered here. That’s for historians and the storytellers and survivors like me, eager to steal the spotlight.

I want him to have his own story to tell, one that is free of shame or guilt or grief.

I don’t want him to honour the dead, I want him to lead an honourable life. I don’t want him to remember their passing as much as I want him to do something worth remembering.

This is his lullaby. This is a song for the survivor and I hope and pray that will be him and in some distant decade he will be called upon like me to describe what it was like during that time when the world felt so wrong. I sing this for him and also for you.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay alive. Survive.

There will be another morning

There will be a day made new

There will be another dawn in

which your dreams come into view


There will be another moment

There will be another time

There will be a chance to hold the

ones you love and left behind



Hold tight ’til the world feels right

In the dark of night

Remember the light

Stay strong

Though the fight feels long

Though your heart was wronged

You’re home where you belong


There will be a new tomorrow

So much brighter than before

Where we shake of all of our sorrow

And love won’t hurt us any more


There will be a celebration

with the ones we missed the most

It took our hearts in isolation

For us to never feel so close



Hold tight ’til the world feels right

In the dark of night

Remember the light

Stay strong

Though the fight feels long

Though your heart was wronged

You’re home where you belong.


Thanks for listening.

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Queerstories is produced by Maeve Marsden and recorded by wonderful technicians at events around the country. Editors and support crew have included Beth McMullen, Bryce Halliday, Ali Graham and Nikki Stevens.