Remembering and Celebrating Wendy Babcock

As a print, web and radio journalist, I am fortunate enough to meet and interview many fascinating people. Add into the mix that I write and talk about sex predominantly and you can take that up a few notches on the colourful scale. I enjoy learning about them all, but some can’t help but stand out above the crowd.

One of those was Wendy Babcock.

And her death this week is a tremendous loss. A loss for the sex work community, a loss for the activist community, a loss to her friends and chosen family, a loss for her son. A loss for me.

I am not going to claim that Wendy and I were great friends, many others were very close to her and deserve that. But I interviewed and wrote about her a few times over the years and from that we did develop a nice little friendship. We chatted at events, we chatted over Facebook on occasion. I readily offered my performance services for the fundraiser held in her honour. I always enjoyed our times, and as many say at times like this, I wish taken more time with her.

I suspect there are many others out there who could tell the same type of story about Wendy. Since her passing, many messages about Wendy’s generous and giving spirit have been posted online. Stories of her talking someone through a difficult time on the phone for hours. Stories of her taking people under her wing and nurturing them. Stories—many stories—of her impact and caring for people in general.

That impact is Wendy’s legacy. She touched and helped people individually and she devoted a significant portion of her life to helping others through her work.

Not many people are bestowed the title Champion. Wendy was. Not many people are deserving subjects of television special reports. Wendy was. Not many people affect folks across an entire country. Wendy did. Not many people are an inspiration. Wendy is.

I hope people remember and focus on what she accomplished. To get to where she did, to overcome the difficulties she did was truly amazing. It was her story that often drew people in—that’s why I got to meet her. And while those horrible situations were part of what made Wendy the strong person she became, it was her spirit and enthusiasm and dedication that made you want to stay near to her. And for that I hope she is celebrated for a long time to come.

Wendy, thank you for all that you did. Thank you for talking to me and sharing your knowledge, wit, wisdom and wicked sense of humour. Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for the legacy of care, compassion and respect for all that you leave behind.

You are missed.

There will be a Community Meeting for Wendy Babcock today at the 519 Community Centre (519 Church St.) in Toronto.