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I Love Unvaccinated People: a Manifesto for Masks and Humility
Today, vaccinated people can get COVID and spread it to others. They can drastically reduce the chance of this through wearing a mask, especially indoors.
I love children and I love babies.
I love toddlers who boldly fall again and again. I love how some two and three-year-olds rejoice in a playground of language, and others swirl in a blur of motion, experiments with the physical — all paths of imagination, vital forces of growth and life itself. And I love the way that kids who need a nap stare at me from their strollers before they fall asleep like I'm TV or a picture book.
I love surly preteens who have earned every ounce of the angst of straddling youth and adulthood on a wronged planet spinning so fast.
I love people with complicated lives that can get in the way of even the most important of care.
I love the teens and young adults who, knowing that something, anything, is better than what they are facing at home, burst out and make their way, best they can.
I love people who are in jails, prisons, detention, quarter and half-way houses and rehabs.
I love parents and grandparents who do anything for their kids — including anything to make it to the multiple jobs that are the thin line between staying housed and, once again, losing their home. Or anything to stay under the radar to be able to stay to raise their children in a nation that relies on their labor while denying their right to even the most essential of things.
I love Black and Brown people who live in the same world as me or elsewhere, facing measurable and immeasurably greater harms of pervasive white supremacy than I ever will, and who deserve far better than any hasty lines I can write about resilience.
I love illders -- the wise ones of any age, any body structure, any nervous systems and brainways, whose wisdom is rooted in our experience of chronic illness or our journeys through a disabling society -- including those who live with the consequences of past medical interventions that tipped a tentative balance in a bad direction.
I love people who wake up and go to sleep in circumstances far beyond any that have ever challenged me.
I love those who receive vaccinations for whom they are likely far less effective -- the elders and also some of those of us who are immunosuppressed, whether they have been told that or not, or whether or not they yet know they are immune compromised.
I love people who know that the only other person who could take care of their kids for the day may do them wrong, and who aren't going to make that mistake again and they'll take their chances of getting sick rather than scheduling that which may help keep them well when there no discernible way in this city or yours to get them the specific help they need.
I love people who live in places with no eviction moratorium. I love people who are unstably housed whether or not there's an eviction moratorium. I love people who are stably housed in crowded circumstances among loved ones or among strangers.
I love queer and trans kids with misinformed, conservative parents.
I love misinformed, conservative kids who will one day realize they are queer and/or trans and open a door to questioning all they have been taught that tells them to hate themselves and hate other people for any reason.
I love people who fight for access to the information they need, and I hate the capitalist system that profits from the captivating digital and mass media misinformation they likely will encounter.
I love people who feel the pull to others who will recreate the familiarity of home, even when those in that home imprinted us with indelible harm we call trauma, hoping this time that these others won’t do it too.
I love people who can’t take the stares and the disrespect or the bureaucratic violence even one more time who are not going to come out and do it all over again today.
I love people who kiss wildly, who fuck deeply, who reach out to find bodies with or without names as a reciprocal self-intimate act.
I love people, who never once in their lives have had any elected official give a damn about their lives in any real way, who refuse to leave where they live and love.
I love women who are hell bent on making it in the false math of attraction and beauty and partnership and fertility in a brutally patriarchal world telling them it's the only way to succeed or maybe just survive.
I love the care I see in my child talking to elders. I love hearing the ways my child takes the time to tell them truths not yet ready to be shared with a parent, knowing this elder is ready to deeply listen in ways I cannot yet do.
I love the six-year-olds in the park who surrounded me with questions about my crutches and broken foot this spring, having been told the park is their school and anything within it is theirs to study to the full extent of their powerful curiosity.
I love people who try so hard, again and again, to do the right thing with so many forces lined up to do them wrong.
I love people with Long COVID who are holding each other online and searching for answers, and so scared knowing others will be joining them soon. And I love people with other complex chronic illnesses who are saying: here is what helps me get through and here is what brings me joy.
And even if I didn't love people, and I will tell you there is many a moment where I am not living inside this powerful love and many a day where I fear hate will burn right through me, I believe that everyone has the human right to health and that includes the right to health if they are unvaccinated.
with loving dedication to Marco Castro-Bojorquez