The Sword is saddened to report that our winter intern, Brandon, has died. He was just 19 years old.
I was supposed to meet Brandon at an event during last weekend’s White Party. When he didn’t show up, I figured he had lost track of time or had simply blown me off. After all, he’s a kid and this was his first White Party. When my texts and voicemails weren’t returned over the course of the next 72 hours, I became concerned. This morning, I received a call from the Palm Springs police department confirming my worst fears: Brandon was found dead in his hotel room on Monday morning. Preliminary reports show no signs of foul play and that Brandon passed sometime early Sunday morning, but a full autopsy is still pending. At this time, the cause of death is unknown.
As many of you know, Brandon was recently diagnosed with HIV, gonorrhea, and bacterial meningitis, but he assured me that he felt well enough to make the trip to Palm Springs. Did I make the right call in allowing him to go? Should he have stayed home and rested? As an editor, I have an obligation to bring my readers the best coverage of events like White Party, and I felt that enlisting Brandon as my special White Party correspondent would accomplish that. But as a human being, I have an obligation to look out for other human beings, and I’m afraid I may have failed Brandon. I’m afraid I may have failed you all. I’m sorry, and I will be more careful in the future.
Those of you who knew Brandon or were fans of his incredibly brave work here know how much he loved interning on this blog, and so it’s in the spirit of Brandon and courageous blogging that I put out a call for a new intern. If you’re over 18, comfortable with adult material, know your way around the internet extremely well, and need some college credits for the spring semester, email me and I’ll give you more details about becoming an intern on The Sword.
Those of you who knew Brandon also know that he was not defined by his recent health setbacks, and instead chose to live as normal a life as possible despite his medical issues. Brandon truly embodied so very much of what today’s young gay man stands for, so hopefully we can all learn a little something from his inspiring story.
Rest in peace, Brandon.