Happy trails to you

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News sure does travel fast in this valley. Long before I sat down to write this goodbye, nearly everyone I interviewed asked me if it was true that I was leaving.

Rumors of my departure have not been highly exaggerated. After this issue, I will be resigning as QSaltLake’s assistant editor and moving to Florida, to start another chapter in my life with my girlfriend. School and work have kept us apart for six years, and now that graduate degrees have been achieved and resumes are no longer blank, we wanted to take the opportunity to move closer to one another.

Of course, entering a new part of one’s life always means leaving another behind — in this case, Utah’s kind, inspiring and all-around wonderful lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, whom I have reported on and grown to cherish like family in the last six years.

I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time when this newspaper (under the name Salt Lake Metro at the time) opened its doors in 2004. In April of that year, a mistake on my undergraduate thesis’ title page sent me to the University of Utah’s English Department to get a second signature from my adviser. While I waited for his class to end, I saw that a new gay and lesbian paper was looking for writers.

Well, I thought, I did this journalism thing in high school, and I just spent the last five years analyzing Shakespeare, Beckett and Blake. I could make this work.

The article I submitted to then-editor Brandon Burt was actually a piece I had written as a 17-year-old high school student. But he liked it, warts and all, enough to bring me on as a writer. Little did I know that decision would begin a years-long relationship with the paper—and I say relationship because, as part of a small staff, sometimes I felt as if I was married to my job! In that time I’ve covered just about every subject imaginable, from anti-gay assaults and gay rights legislation, to breakthroughs in HIV treatment, to prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender business owners, to pet psychics. Whether hard-hitting news or fluffy features, I have enjoyed researching, covering and writing each and every story.

I have also enjoyed meeting you, our readers and community members. And while I am excited to see my girlfriend more, I will miss talking to you, laughing with you, crying with you and celebrating with you as our rights are achieved bit by bit. But while I am stepping down as assistant editor, I am hopeful that I will still be able to write articles for the paper, as I began doing all those years ago. As I told Michael Aaron a few weeks ago, “It’s not going to be that easy to get rid of me. I think I’ll be here until they turn off the lights!”

What can I say? This “journalism thing” has become as much a profession as it has an addiction.

As 2011 goes on, I hope the best for all of you, politically and personally. Keep on being the wonderful, gracious and kind people that you are, even when legislators, clergy members and loved ones say and do hateful and saddening things. And most of all, don’t ever stop speaking out for your rights, and against injustices against all people. After all, we as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are not truly free as long as anyone is oppressed.

My love to you all.

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