Max Disposti | North County Update
A month ago, a North County teen who went by the name of Sage, took his life.
Sage was one of us and was one of the many LGBTQIA teens that frequents the North County LGBTQ Resource Center.
Our Center’s youth want to celebrate Sage’s life and remember his legacy of love and acceptance, and not dwell on his pain. While so many have been questioning the reason behind this tragedy, Sage was loved and respected by his family and peers and this is how his closest friends here at the Center want to remember him.
However, Sage’s story brought to our attention just how vulnerable our LGBTQIA youth really are, constantly challenged by a society that only seems to accept and impose a gender binary idea of the world.
During the days that followed Sage’s passing, his closest friends stood up to honor him and reach out in solidarity with the many whose voices still can’t be heard. They brought to “our little Center that could” their wisdom, but also their determination to never be silent. We are all so proud of them!
For this reason this month, I have shared my space with Jasper. Jasper is a participant in one of the Center’s youth groups and one of Sage’s closest friends. He and so many others that were close to Sage are offering closure and support for everyone that needs it.
Very recently — and I mean very, very recently — I lost a close friend of mine.
Tuesday afternoon I was sitting at my desk working on a flier for an upcoming theater production my school is putting on. My phone rang and it was my friend that usually doesn’t call me out of the blue. Her voice was soft and sort of monotone and when I asked what’s up she swallowed what seemed to be tears she was fighting back.
“Sage is, uh … Sage is no longer with us,” she said softly.
My heart dropped and I froze. I wasn’t able to speak. I stayed on the phone with her for a short while before we both acknowledged we should hang up. As soon as I set phone my phone down back on the desk, I put my head back and started crying.
It was all so surreal; it still is, to be honest. I didn’t — I don’t — want to believe he’s gone.
I don’t remember Sage not being my friend. He seamlessly entered my life and brought what seemed to be the simplest form of love. He loved, and he loved deeply. Sage isn’t someone you forget and he will never be forgotten.
People always say those who take their own lives are selfish. As much as I wish he were still here, it’s selfish of me to want him to be here, knowing he would still be suffering. I know that wherever he is, he’s better. He’s not suffering anymore and he’s not battling depression or struggling to even just get through the day.
Sage always talked about wanting to be with his mom because he lost her years before in a car accident. I know he’s with her and so do all of our friends.
I didn’t want to talk about what happened or how I felt with anyone but our mutual friends. After his funeral, we were all able to spend time together and focus on the positive. Remembering who he was, not what happened.
The week he died I stepped up and organized a candlelight memorial we had at the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. That’s where I met Sage, actually, at the teen group on Thursday nights.
I met my other friends there, too; the friends that went to school with Sage; the friends that I was able to talk to about how I felt.
Sage was a wonderful, kind soul. He is the sweetest person I’ve ever met and I am so grateful for him every day of my life. He will not be forgotten. He will live on, through us, for the rest of our days.
Rest in peace, plant boy. We love you.
—Jasper Skye Mc
—Max Disposti is a human rights activist, a community organizer and the founder and executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. He is currently also serving on the boards of the Oceanside City Library and Main Street Oceanside and previously served on the city’s Community Relations Commission. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.