It was a hell of a way to wake up.
I wake up to the news every morning. This morning, I heard that a man was assaulted after leaving a gay bar on Gottingen St. Police had closed off a section of the street, between Cornwallis and Cunard. The man was dead.
Details were few and far between. At that point, I didn’t know if the assailant had been found. A “slur” was used by the assailant, according to a witness.
My Facebook feed was even less hopeful. A man I know commented that his friend was dead. And then another person said the same thing, neither of them mentioning who it was. The journalist in me wondered who it was. The gay man who’s been living in Halifax for 15 years shuddered, wondering who it was, wanting and not wanting to know.
And then, at 10:30, my phone rang. A friend told me who it was. As I am on the phone with that friend, I get a text: "Raymond?"
A local news source, Open File, had identified the person who was killed. His name was Raymond Taavel. The police have a suspect who is being held for questioning, and according to reports, charges will soon be laid.
Fuck. The victim.
Raymond was not a victim. He would not allow himself to be victimized. He was open, honest and vocal, an advocate for gay rights. To write the word “victim” is disheartening and disturbing.