Welcome to Episode 2 of the Question with Zachary Stiles. Today’s guest is Marciella Guzman, a friend of Lucas Good’s. Thank you all for your continued support.
Zachary: Welcome to episode 2 of The Question with Zachary Stiles. My name is Zachary Stiles, and I am a queer activist, journalist, and blogger based in the Lower Mainland of beautiful British Columbia. If you’re new to The Question with Zachary Stiles, welcome here. The purpose of this podcast is to ask questions, questions that matter, especially to marginalized folks. By listening to this podcast, you help me ask these questions, so thank you for being here.
Now our previous episode with Marsha Good turned out to have quite the explosive reaction. Now if at this point, you don’t know who Marsha Good, you might want to check if you are living under a rock, but I’ll take just a second to explain for all of you. Earlier this month, a queer 14-year-old boy took his own life, and I broke the story not just of his passing but that his parents and his religious community were refusing to hold a funeral for him. Of course, this lead to the Funeral 4 Lucas, or F4L, movement rising up, which has since been followed by counter-protests coming from the far right. Honestly, there is no force as predictable as the far right and the way they protest the reasonable demands of good people like clockwork. This conflict has since been dominating the news media.
So of course, I’m going to be doing what I can to continue reporting on this story as it develops. And over the weekend, a young girl got in touch with me. Her name is Marciella Guzman and she was a friend of Lucas. She has things that she wanted to share, exclusively with our listeners, to help provide more context behind Lucas Good, who he was, and why this is so important to us. Welcome, Marciella, to the podcast.
Marciella: Thank you so much. Can you hear me? Is my audio okay?
Zachary: Oh yes, we are all hearing you just fine.
Marciella: Good, that’s perfect. Um- thank you so much again for letting me come on the show.
Zachary: Well, thank you for reaching out. I wanted to start by checking in with you, and seeing as someone who knew Lucas, how have you been reacting to everything that has happened? This has turned in to a huge media circus, but for you, this story is very intimate and personal.
Marciella: I’ve been… it’s been really hard to not have Lucas around. And yeah, it’s been difficult to cope with everything in the news, and sometimes, I wish I could turn it all off and wake up and everything will be back to how it was, but of course, that’s not possible.
Zachary: No, of course not.
Marciella: Lucas and I were friends since we were really little, close to 10 years. I know his mom was on your last show, and she said Lucas was very private and also very quiet. Uhh- that part was true. He really did not have many friends or talk to a lot of people. So if anyone knew Lucas really well, it would be me.
Zachary: For those of us who never knew Lucas personally, what can you tell about what he was like as a person?
Marciella: Lucas was someone who was really smart, but since he was so quiet, I guess, most people didn’t know how smart he was. He loved learning new things. Almost anything, even if it was something that wasn’t really his thing, he would still enjoy learning about it. Like he was really into learning about computers, but if you were his friend, he also would want to learn all about your favourite bands. He also was just getting into sports and discovering some skills. So, like, Lucas was someone who really wanted to experience all kinds of different things in life.
Zachary: He sounds like he was a really amazing young man.
Marciella: Yes, and he was just starting to try and open up to more people with his blog, where he talked about some of his struggles.
Zachary: His blog?
Marciella: Yes, he had a blog, thegoodguy93.blogspot.com. He never told anyone he knew about it, but being his best friend, I was able to find it anyway when I started to do some searching. And I know that this blog is his private thoughts, so I hope he forgives me for reading it, but by reading that, I was able to learn a lot more about Lucas.
Zachary: Like what?
Marciella: Well, like how he viewed his own orientation, how excited he was about the future…
Zachary: I want to be really clear about what you are saying here with me today. Do you believe that Lucas Good is still alive?
Marciella: That would be a really huge thing to claim.
Zachary: That doesn’t answer the question. Do you believe that Lucas Good is still alive?
Marciella: That’s not the claim I’m here to make. I’m saying this is information and some people, a certain person, may appreciate having this information. Just to know that we’ve seen it, we think it’s real, and we think yeah, other people should see it too.
Zachary: Who is we?
Marciella: Me and other people who may think like me.
Zachary: By other people who may think like you, you mean The Lucas Truthers.
Marciella: I’m not part of any group called The Lucas Truthers.
Zachary: But you understand how this is a really sensitive topic for some people. You are saying basically that this blog is Lucas’ blog. That Lucas Good himself wrote this, when his own mother told me on my previous show that he didn’t have a blog. I’m sure you know, Marciella, a lot of people are very personally affected by Lucas’ story. People with the F4L movement have been saying, he could have been our friend or our brother or our son. So his memory is really important to us, especially when so many people-
Marciella: Right, but you’re saying-
Zachary: Let me finish, let me talk. Especially when so many people are saying that he doesn’t even deserve a funeral, when we see so much of ourselves when we look at this kid, it’s just insane that now we have to deal with people who say that he’s not even dead. It feels like our entire community is being gaslit.
Marciella: Ok, but what you’re saying is people feel like he is their friend. I actually knew Lucas. He was my best friend since kindergarten. And also-
Zachary: I respect that you knew Lucas personally, but you must be aware that Berenice Chalmers from the Funeral 4 Lucas web portal has had to shut down five other online profiles that have claimed to be Lucas.
Marciella: I’m aware that she claims that, yes.
Zachary: It’s not just a claim! It’s real, this is real.
Marciella: Well, I have seen a few of the fake Lucas profiles, but I can tell you for sure that the blog is real, because I lived through a lot of the things in the blog, so I know it’s his blog.
Zachary: Alright, I’ll humour you for a moment. What are the social implications if this blog is real?
Marciella: The social implications?
Zachary: Do you know what social implications means?
Marciella: I do, it’s just a weird question.
Zachary: Well, it’s the question I’m asking, so I would appreciate it if you answered it. Once again, from your perspective, what are the social implications if this blog is real?
Marciella: Well, I have some ideas but rather than tell you what I think, you should read it and decide the social implications for yourself.
Zachary: For the many of us who are becoming increasingly closed off to what you have to say here, what evidence can you provide for those of us who did not live through it ourselves? How can we verify your claims here?
Marciella: Well, part of it would be you have to believe me.
Zachary: When you come here and you make insinuations that Lucas Good is alive, then I immediately don’t believe you.
Marciella: If you’ve decided ahead of time to not believe me, I can’t then prove the blog is real.
Zachary: Alright, sounds pretty cut and dry then.
Marciella: I can try to, I can talk to all of the people named in the blog and get them to back me up, but if you don’t believe me in the first place, it doesn’t matter.
Zachary: Let’s just move on to a different topic, I’m very disturbed by this and we’re taking up too much time here.
Marciella: Okay, that’s fine.
Zachary: Do you know want to know what I think is happening here? And I’m sure a lot of people are going to come to the same conclusion as me. I think that you are very traumatized by the loss of your friend, and I think you are being bamboozled by someone on the Internet who has very bad intentions. And you want to believe this is real, because, of course, you are deeply grieving over the loss of someone you’ve known for nearly 10 years, as you said. And it’s hard when you are 14, and the world terrifies you, and you lose someone who is very close to you. But the very best thing we can do to honour Lucas is to not be so easily deceived by these Internet phonies who want to use you to sow discord and confusion, and instead use this as an opportunity to make the world a better place for the queer youth who are still suffering in silence today. Do you understand what I’m saying? Does it make sense?
Marciella: I’ve understood everything you’ve said to me, yes.
Zachary: What’s your reaction to my assessment? Do you think I’m right or I’m wrong?
Marciella: I think you are right that there are people on the Internet who have very bad intentions.
Zachary: Yes, exactly, and those people can make life really difficult for those of us who are grieving something so heavy as the suicide of a queer youth in our community.
Marciella: Yeah, I definitely see that happening.
Zachary: And if they can even cause someone like you, who knew Lucas to question your own grasp of reality, then just imagine the damage that these people can do to people who didn’t even know Lucas in the first place. And that’s why it’s so important that we call them out – conspiracy theorists, grief vampires, the Lucas Truthers, whatever you want to call them, whenever we see them doing this – to hold these people accountable for what they are doing. And I know you’re not part of that, Marciella, I know you’re just a young woman who is struggling right now, but still it’s imperative for us who are part of marginalized communities to stay vigilant in the face of these kinds of subversive attacks. Now, I do want to thank you for being here, Marciella. I don’t want to go too much longer due to our time, but I do think we did learn more about Lucas and how really important it is for all of us to stay on the track we are on. I really appreciate you being here. Until next time, you’ve been listening to The Question with Zachary Stiles. This is Zachary Stiles signing off.