Ireland: Lyra McKee: kindness defined her, we must fight for her memory

Like a lot of gay people, Lyra McKee spent a long time hiding first. Of course she did. The Bible told her she was going to Hell. Her society told her she was going to be ostracized or worse. Because she was young and smart she quickly figured out their Faustian bargain: to be that, you must lose all this.


Here’s something you may not know. Gay people are often remarkably kind to you because they have experienced so little of it themselves. So they understand its value. They have come to see that kindness in fact requires courage.

Not enough is written about the unique courage of young LGBT teenagers, I feel. How they often stand alone at the very moment when they are at their most vulnerable. How, to paraphrase James Baldwin, they must snatch their identities out of a fire that daily rages to consume them.

If they survive that fiery crucible, and not everyone can, then they achieve their own authority. It's an unshakable authority. That was Lyra McKee, the 29 year old journalist murdered in Derry this week.

I did not know Lyra, but I knew her. All LGBT people in the North do. That's because the moment that we come out there we are still being called upon to justify every aspect of our identity and existence to a mostly unwelcoming public.

It's a vetting process that is quite unparalleled. Some don't survive it. No other community has to endure a gauntlet quite like it. No other community there is asked to explain their presence and their purpose to an unsympathetic government, over and over, or explain why they may be deserving of the same legal rights as their neighbor. Read more via Irish Central