I’ve been wrestling all day – less with what to write than how to write it – so I thought I’d begin with an absurd fruit-plate. Leading with humour is something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. Regardless of what was going on inside, my outside presentation was most often light if not downright hilarious.
Granny Clampett imitation? Kenneth does a great one!
The soprano soloist at church? I sang a masterful likeness.
My repertoire of farm animal sounds and imitation flatulence? Unequaled!
So it is that I identify with comics whose gift is thrashed from unpleasant early experiences in life – despite presenting myself as a funny kid within a happy family.
I must roll aside that instinct to entertain at the most difficult of times as something terrible happened over the weekend in the community of housing units we call the Bleecker Street Co-Op. Other than to say “Hi” in the lobby now and again, or at a co-op party, perhaps at a panel discussion, I did not know him so it wasn’t enough to hear that Kyle Scanlon had died to put together who he was.
The first picture shocked me into recognition.
That big round, bearded, animal-loving face always had a smile in our infrequent exchange of greetings.
As social media spread word of his death today it was very moving to see how many people were so much closer to Kyle.
Kyle completed suicide and, right from the very first posting on the subject, it is clear that he leaves behind shocked, inconsolable, loving friends.
Trans PULSE where he was a founding member.
The 519 where he’s worked for ten years, first as the Trans Programs Coordinator and most recently as Education, Training and Research Coordinator.
As reactions have distilled over the hours, very familiar questions are asked repeatedly.
Why would he do this? He always seemed so bubbly and cheerful!
After coming through so much, why would he be despairing? Could it have been an accident?
I wonder why he didn’t reach out for help.
Of course I do not know that he didn’t.
Within the shock and grief there exists a self-mutilating belief that maybe we could have done something…if only.
These are questions I sometimes worry about leaving unanswered whenever thoughts of desperate action – thoughts of the “catch and release” variety, mostly – cross my mind.
The sadness Kyle’s friends and loved ones are feeling is no doubt deep and unspeakably real.
I hope there is a bit of comfort in sharing with one another, as you will, the experiences that best illustrate Kyle during happier times with him.