Too often, most of us tend to go through life taking small things for granted: our friends, our family, and all the good things that should truly matter. It’s unfortunate, but many times we don’t realize how much we loved something or someone until they’re gone. In that sense, life can have a bittersweet way of bringing things full circle at times.
For anyone who didn’t know Nathan Christofferson, he was a prominent activist in California fighting for equality within the LGBT community. Volunteering as a chapter leader for Equality California (though offered a job as a field rep.), he was well known throughout the state, even making friends with one of his favorite icons- Margaret Cho. Sadly, at the age of 27, Nathan passed away. Being a victim of workplace discrimination and coming from a Christian family whom loved him dearly (yet struggled to accept his sexuality), Nathan was working to bridge a gap between a community full of hypocrisy and for those led astray from the true unconditional love of Christ.
As I write this, it seems somewhat taboo to be writing for a gay column yet at the same time tie in the phrase “the love of Christ”. I ask myself, why does it seemingly have to be this way? Perhaps it’s just my jaded perception of organized religion, or perhaps it’s because I know all too well how easily even those with faith can be led astray. By now I’m sure there are readers who have a bitter taste even thinking of religion or the search for God, but I’m also certain there are those with a mustard seed of faith- who may need the reassurance that they are loved by a higher power. One thing I remember best about Nathan was that he knew and practiced the art of loving unconditionally; a virtue anyone, religious or not, should possess.
Although it’s been five years since his death, Nathan remains in the heart of his friends and family. He was my best friend, and in my eyes a martyr used by God to show those of us that knew him, the depths of his and God’s unconditional love for all people. For whatever reason, he spent the last moments of his life (with me) praying; as if he knew his time had come. I had never experienced the pain of losing someone I loved so much. Following his death, I was contacted by a few national journalists, but in my heart I knew it would be best if someday I wrote what I felt Nathan would have wanted everyone to know (so here I am). If there was one thing Nathan would want everyone to know, it would be that they were loved by someone, whether they believe it or not. He is missed and loved by many, but I also know that his death was merely his beginning. In remembrance of the fifth anniversary of his death and National Gay Pride month, I am truly grateful for the people who have fought and continue to fight for equal rights in the name of love.
Nathan Christofferson was also a contributing journalist for GayFresno.com- if you would like to read more about his life, you can use a search engine for articles in a number of nation-wide magazines regarding his death (though I urge you to take what is written about his family with a grain of salt) – Fabian F.