Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Family Advocate and Civil Rights Hero Carolyn Wagner has died.

I'm very sorry to tell the readers of this blog that PFLAG mom and civil rights hero, co-founder of Families United Against Hate, Carolyn Wagner, has died. When I first met Carolyn, cyberly, it was in the early days of this blog. She and her son, William, came to New York to see The Last Session, and I got to spend time with William just talking to him and giving him whatever meager support I could.

It's hard to imagine that a force of nature can die, but death is one of those inevitabilities. I don't know everything Carolyn has done. Someone needs to write her story up and make a movie or something because if you ever met her, you would have never guessed, just by looking, that beneath the skin of little "southern mom" was a steely rage against injustice that never wavered, even when she was staked and beaten in her own back yard.

She never stopped fighting for equality before the law and especially never stopped lending her personal support to families who were victims of anti-gay violence.

A more formal obituary will be forthcoming from her family.

All I know is that when I wrote "William's Song" all those years ago, when she was first starting to do her work, which began in Fayetteville, Arkansas when she went up against a school administration that was turning a blind eye to the daily beatings being delivered to her son, I had no idea how far her reach would extend. I am honored to have been a part of her story.

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