Dan Massey Memorial Service: Dan the Activist

Dan, 1982

Dan, 1982

Good afternoon everyone, I’m Dana Beyer.  Dan is a friend of mine and a friend of all of yours. Alison asked me to speak about Dan the activist and I think we all know Dan wasn’t much of an activist, he was pretty much a couch potato so this list won’t be very long. Don’t make yourselves comfortable, there just a couple, let’s see: 

People for the American Way; Southern Poverty Law Center; Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance; National Center for Transgender Equality; National Gay & Lesbian Task Force; Victory Fund; Truth Wins Out; Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS); Gender Rights Maryland; Casa Ruby; Transgender Health Empowerment; DC Trans Coalition; Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance; Get Equal; Humanity+; Terasem; DC  TLBG Police Watch; and, of course, Venusplusx.

And these are just a few, there are more. Alison kept sending more to add to the list every night and I finally told her enough. You know, you want to get this done. Dan not only supported, and contributed to these organizations, he founded some of them and he helped groom many of those who worked there. This was no small thing for him.

In addition, Dan and Alison hosted some of the most successful and lucrative fundraisers for organizations and candidates they’ve ever seen in this city.

Most important to them, however, was their grassroots work, where they got down, as Dan used to say, “putting boots to the ground.” They got involved with their fellow activists, they listened to community concerns, they developed goals for sustainable change to live on beyond Dan and Alison, and helped translate these goals into strategies to impact public official,s to move them, to create real change on the ground.

As an example, Dan was one of the founding members of the DC TLGB Police Watch, to incessantly target police and other public officials to bring about life-saving and lasting changes for trans folks in DC, and to export their success here to export this to other cities that also have similar serious problems with police and public officials.

In his last few years, Dan did not end up sitting on the couch. He continued to make an effort to build transhumanism, bring greater awareness of spiritual and cosmic technology, to enable the advancement of a better world in the here and now.

I’d like to say something personal. As I get older I realize that the friendships that I cherish the most are those with my oldest friends from childhood. That no matter how tenuous those connections grow, however much we’ve changed, however radical that change may be, like in my case clearly so, those relationships are the sweetest. Right?  There’s just something about it, I don’t know what it is. Maybe cognitively when we’re children we’re truly innocent, and can truly build relationships, we have time to do that whereas mature adults are more cynical and we don’t think they have the time to do it. So it is said that there is no such thing as a new old friend. Not as far as I’m concerned. Dan and Alison are the exception that disproved the rule because they are truly, truly new old friends in that sense. And when I say friend I don’t mean the way we speak today, Facebook friends, or even the way we speak of friends as just somebody, fair-weather friends we used to call them. Friends, the way Alison once told me, activist friends. Friends who aspire to be virtual siblings so to speak. So that when I would be on the verge of messing up or making a fool of myself, she would reach out to me, Dan would say something ‘Don’t do that, don’t make a fool of yourself’.” Very few people are willing to do that anymore. And on the upside just as well to be able to reach out to intercede to make good things happen. And I’ll forever be grateful to both of them for doing that. And when I look at Alison now, when I say Dan is my friend, I mean that, Dan is here.  When I look at you, Dan is here with you as he has always been and it’s true, I see it in your children and in their families as well. His presence I don’t believe will ever fade. His writings, VenusPlusX, all of this will live on beyond him but there is just something more, some ineffable essence that has truly touched my life and I know the lives of many of you here in this room. Dan is my friend, he is our friend.