When Juan Evans signed up to do Queerfit92, he knew he was not going to be able to do all the workouts. He signed up anyway. Every workout, he gave 110%.

Now, anyone who has played organized sports has been subjected to court/field/poolside speeches, full of passion and spittle, about giving 110%. The speeches are meant to be inspirational.

This is not an inspirational post. It does not have a good ending. It has the worst ending possible.

As a literalist, I cringed whenever I was on the receiving end of one of these “give 110%” halftime speeches. It inspired me not at all to be told to do the impossible. It was just a cliche; a sloppy, overheated way of saying, “do your best.”

Then I met Juan Evans. Here was a man holding together five generations under one roof after getting himself clean & sober and transitioning, first one to work at the Blue House in the mornings, juggling child care duties for three grandkids, AND organizing against the police when they messed with him. Oh, I said. That’s a freedom fighter. That’s 110%.

He gave 110% because that’s what he needed to do to live in this world that was arrayed against him. In the end, it was too much. He went into intensive care after developing complications post-surgery, then died on Tuesday. There have been and will be many beautiful tributes to Juan, written with great respect and deep love. I can’t write one of those, not yet, because I’m still stuck on the fact that Juan should not have had to go 110% all this time, all his life, to make it to this place.

Having to go 110% is not an inspiration. It was a grind. It wore him out.

You wouldn’t know it from the big smile on his face, the way he went after the punch mitts, the way he went after every friggin’ thing. It was a privilege to have him with us. His service is this Saturday, July 18th at 11 am at Virginia Highland Community Church located at 743 Virginia Avenue NE, Atlanta GA 30306. Queerfitters past & present are handling the beverages at the repast immediately following the services.

We are also needing to raise $10k to cover funeral costs. If you have ever been to queerfit or followed the blog workouts, I’m asking that you make a contribution. Something large enough to be painful.

This is bullshit we’re having to say this. Rest in peace, rise in power, Juan Evans.