Jussie Smollett‘s “You’re So Beautiful (White Party Version)” from the TV show Empire was one of the songs I listened to over and over and over in the months before I came out as gay in the summer of 2016. For me, the words were such a joyful burst of affirmation and self-love and gay-positivity. “You’re so beautiful, and I don’t care who knows…”

From the New York Times: “Jussie Smollett, one of the stars of the Fox television show “Empire,” was attacked in Chicago early Tuesday morning by two people who yelled racial and homophobic slurs and wrapped a rope around his neck, according to the police, who said they were investigating the incident as “a possible hate crime.”

“Smollett, who is black and publicly came out as gay in 2015, was walking on a downtown street when two people approached him and yelled the slurs, according to a statement from the Chicago Police Department. The attackers then began hitting Smollett in the face and poured an “unknown chemical substance” on him.

“One of the attackers also wrapped a rope around Smollett’s neck before the duo fled.”

A rope. Around a Black, gay man’s neck. My God. I thought this was 2019.

We’ve come a long way, but there’s still so very far to go. How long, oh Lord? THIS is why I’m doing all I can to speak out against bigotry and ignorance and hatred and to live a life of love. THIS is why I live my gay Christian life out and proud. THIS is why we need our allies now more than ever to speak out against this kind of violence AND to affirm the value, dignity and goodness of LGBTQ+ people and our lives and loves. THIS is why we must unapologetically affirm that #BlackLivesMatter

Praying for Jussie Smollett tonight, and for all who are targets of hatred of violence, ESPECIALLY my Black LGBTQ loved ones. #BlackLivesMatter