“There comes a time when you have to stop crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t even jump puddles for you.”
— Ryan Vandeput
A most heartfelt letter written, but never sent. The tender letter from Thomas to his lover Michael, written in around 1957. Taken from the brilliant ‘Man In An Orange Shirt’, this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful yet tragic love stories I’ve ever seen on TV and encapsulates an era of forbidden love. A love that dare not speak (or write) it’s name for fear of imprisonment. It would be another decade before the law on prohibiting homosexual relationships would be repealed, at least in the United Kingdom.
“The love I feel for you runs through me like grain through wood.”
Think about that for a minute.
If you haven’t seen the BBC adaptation of Man In An Orange Shirt, it’s available on BBC iPlayer for the next couple of weeks.
The Unsent Letter:
My Darling Thomas,
I'm at work. Nobody knows I'm writing to you here. They think I’m drafting a long and stupefying memorandum about incremental shifts in the price of Welsh coal since the end of the war for the ladies in the typing pool to type up later.
You refuse my visits so you're probably tearing up my letters too but there's nothing else I can do but keep trying. It's beyond my control, do you see?
All those months ago, when I had nothing to lose really, I wrote to you in my head but was too cowardly to set more than lies upon paper. And now I find I no longer care. The love I feel for you runs through me like grain through wood. I love you, Thomas. Your face, your voice, your touch, enter my mind at the least opportune moments and I find I have no power to withstand them. No desire to.
I want us to be together as we were in the cottage. Only for ever, not just a weekend. I want it to go on so long that it feels normal. I think of you constantly. Your face, your breath on my neck at night. I want to do all the ordinary, un-bedroomy things we never got around to doing. Making toast. Raking leaves. Sitting in silence.
I love you, Thomas.
I’ve always loved you.
I see that now.
Tell me I'm not too late.
Everything in this image has been created from scratch by The Vandeput Design Co. and is copyright…
© 2017, Ryan Vandeput. Without exception, you may not use this image for any purpose in whole or part without licence from The Vandeput Design Co. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request permissions.
In 1967, changes in the law in the UK meant that homosexuality was at last decriminalised. In fact, it was what happened at the Stonewall uprising over in the United States that heralded in a new dawn for gay rights. Indeed, the very first Pride march took place shortly after these riots and have evolved into what we now recognise as annual gay pride. It surprises me all the time that so many people from the LGBT community have no idea of origin of pride. It’s not just a big gay knees-up. Yes, it’s great to celebrate the achievements of those before us, but we must never forget that there is still much to do. Social attitudes have changed, but more could be done. Government policy has moved forward, but not enough. Laws have been made or amendmended, but not where total equality is possible. Religious stances are evolving for the better, but at a ridiculously slow pace. In short, there is still much to be achieved, and while most see Pride as a great time to party, let us not forget why pride came about, and why we now have our freedom to love whoever we choose. Let us remember that there is still a need for activism, to better the lives of LGBT people everywhere, at home and abroad.
“Let us remember that there is still a need for activism, to better the lives of LGBT people everywhere…”
We also need to look within ourselves. Theonce safe inclusivity of the community is being lost. We are quickly forgetting that it was a need for activism, because of persecution from other societal or religious groups, that brought us together as a movement in the first place. It wasn't being in cliques and ‘type categories’ that segregate us and push us apart. Much of the non-LGBTQ community is full of its very own negative stereotypes, abuse, slurs and hate towards us, without our own community adding to it – and we do. We need to remember what is important. An idealistic viewpoint is that we need to love and respect each other all over again.
We need to recognise that even today, when we feel that so much has been done for the LGBTQ community, so much more can be achieved and that there is always that call to arms, that call to fight; there is always opportunity for activism. Let your battle cry be heard!
For the most part, we’re doing great, but as my teachers often said, we “could do better.”
Finally, if you’re a reader from the non-LGBTQ community and wondering why there is no ‘Straight Pride’, remember this: gay pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but our right to exist without persecution. So, instead of wondering why there isn’t a Straight Pride movement, be thankful you don’t need one.
Happy Pride Season!
If you’re interested in watching the incredible documentary on the Stonewall riots, you can watch Stonewall Uprising here:
(If you’re outside the USA, find a good VPN client. I recommend BetterNet, which is available free on AppStores and online.)
There are now 4 brand-new videos on my YouTube channel – Titus Andromedon at his most fabulous, taken from the Netflix Original Series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! Click the respective image to watch the 4 new edits, including the main street sequence, the extended cut and the ultimate cut, which features glorious tributes to Beyoncé’s ‘Hold Up’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘All Night’ plus extended scenes. Production: The Vandeput Design Co.
“Life is short. I often find myself lost in thought about those little, sometimes unnoticed, but very special moments in life. These moments are often fleeting, are buried in the minutiae of life, and yet they sparkle with the piercing iridescence of tiny stars on a sky of black velvet. There is still beauty in everything. Even in darkness.”
— Ryan Vandeput
It’s been a tiring but love-filled day, but not in any obvious way.
I found myself lost in thought about those little but very special moments in life. These moments are often fleeting, are buried in the minutiae of life and yet they sparkle with the piercing brilliance of tiny stars on black velvet. There is still beauty in everything.
I remembered life is but a brief moment. The years go by quickly and if we’re lucky and make it that far, old age arrives suddenly before we have an inkling. People desire so many things and waste their days in vain. Some yearn for gold, others for power, yet others for glory and a higher station. But when death’s moment nears and they look back at the lives they’ve lived, they realise they’ve been happy only during those moments when they’ve loved.
How long is forever? Sometimes, just one second.
Happy Easter, to you all 🙂
(Photo shot with VSCO)