LGBT activist and filmmaker Shane Bitney Crone has provided further context for his relationship with singer Rayvon Owen, the American Idol alum who came out both as gay and in a relationship with Crone this week in the new music video for his single, “Can’t Fight It.”
In a lengthy note posted to Facebook, Crone describes how the pair met while he was working as a production assistant on Idol the year Owen became a finalist, how their instant and deep connection eventually restored his faith in true love, and how Owen has helped him cope with and honor the death of his late partner Tom Bridegroom (below right).
Crone, as you may recall, became a public figure in May 2012 after posting a YouTube video titled “It Could Happen to You,” in which he described the horrific circumstances he faced after Bridegroom’s sudden accidental death the year before. The parents of his late partner opposed their relationship, and wound up banning Crone from the funeral, threatening him with physical violence, and erasing his likeness from the memorial service.
Crone’s ordeal was chronicled in the 2013 award-winning documentary Bridegroom.
“I had never felt very comfortable discussing that with past crushes because people had often told me that my story was intimidating, if not completely romance-repelling,” Crone wrote in the post. “With Rayvon, I didn’t hesitate to tell him about Tom, and he encouraged me to continue keeping Tom’s memory alive—which only made me fall further in love with him.”
To anyone out there who feels like they are damaged from previous relationships, who haven’t met “the one” yet, or who have lost love as I did and feel like they’ll never find it again, I am here to tell you that it is possible. It may not come in the packaging you expected, or at the moment you anticipated, but if you are patient and open to the possibility, amazing things can happen. I hope that by being public about my relationship with Rayvon, others will feel inspired to let themselves be vulnerable and take chances. We are all worthy of love and are not defined solely by the past.
I believe that in death, Tom helped me find new life—with Rayvon. Some people may think that’s crazy, but I believe with all my heart that it is true. I can’t predict the future, but if I’ve learned one thing from the past five years, it is that love and life are fleeting and I must live for the present. However long I get to be with Rayvon, I will cherish every moment. When he kissed me in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, my instinct was to stop him. I rarely, almost never, showed public displays of affection towards Tom because of my shame and paranoia about what others thought. I’ve learned, however, that even if it makes other people uncomfortable, it is not my job to make them feel better by withholding affection from the person I love. The more we prove to people we aren’t afraid of showing our love, the less they’ll have cause to fear it.
Check out the full post below.