In response to the Orlando, Florida shooting at a gay nightclub, AND the arrest of a man armed with assault weapons and explosives, on his way to attack attendees at LA Pride, my heart is heavy with so many reactions…
I am heartbroken for the wounded, the murdered, the families, and the community torn apart in chaos.
I am angry that I must witness this kind of violent hatred in my lifetime. One that, like so many before, was full of the promise of unity, tolerance, and progress. I am weary because this is not new… and I am not surprised. But I should be. This should be shocking and unheard of. But this kind of horror is commonplace in our country, where the spread of hate is protected more than the human beings simply existing in its wake.
I am also afraid. As a counselor-in-training, my principal promoted philosophy is that of living authentically — whatever that may mean to any particular individual. However, any time I express my identity and my support for my LGBTQI family, I am painting a target on my back. Even at events and locations that we, as a community, have created for ourselves in an attempt at (emotional and physical) safety, we are sought out, targeted, persecuted, and violently attacked.
We have been disillusioned by recent political victories into the notion of societal equality. But we are not safe. We were never safe. They are murdering us.
They call it “shoving it in their faces.” But to declare one’s existence in the face of threat is not an act one can commit quietly.
They call us so radicalized for being forced to bravely stand out, and proud, and in protest of our oppression. They call it “shoving it in their faces.” But to declare one’s existence in the face of threat is not an act one can commit quietly.
We wear our rainbows, march in our parades, patronize our affirming establishments, and express intimacy in public, not in some grandiose rebellion against “the wholesome and the norm” — as so many would portray us as doing. But, instead, we live our lives as ourselves, in various states of sublime and bold, amended with the screaming, sobbing, sweating declaration that perpetuating the heteronormativity of this culture is strangling us.
We are being legally evicted from our homes, fired from our jobs, and denied services we have worked so hard to earn. And all so many can talk about is how our “agenda” ruined television for you, with our mere representation.
We are being murdered in the streets, and all some can express is their dissent that our President declared June to be LGBT Pride Month. Because, apparently, our blood in the gutters has not earned us a month of our own.
When bigots are among members of the queer community, they fear for the preservation of their masculinity. When members of the queer community are in the presence of bigots, we fear for our lives.
We are Matthew Shepard. We are Stonewall. We are Pulse.
These hate crimes committed against us are domestic terrorism in every definition of the term. This is a civil rights issue. This is a human rights issue. And every time an atrocity like this happens on our soil we are faced with a choice as a nation: What are we going to do about this to prevent it from happening again? How are we going to protect our citizens?
But, as a nation, we tend to answer with averted eyes.