As always, we’ve been searching through the web to find ways to make sense of the Orlando Shooting this weekend. In addition to the five important updates we posted yesterday, we’ve just found five important personal essays that help articulate the pain and light the way forward for those of us feeling sad, weary or scared.
We’ve excerpted the sections that spoke loudest to us, but they’re all worth reading in full (we’ve included the links below each blockquote).
LBTQIA Clubs (Especially Latin Ones) Are A Haven From The Straight World
“People talk about liberation as if it’s some kind of permanent state, as if you get liberated and that’s it, you get some rights, and that’s it, you get some acknowledgment and that’s it, happy now? But you’re going back down into the muck of it every day; this world constricts. You know what the opposite of Latin Night at the Queer Club is? Another Day in Straight White America. So when you walk into the club, if you’re lucky, it feels expansive. ‘Safe space’ is a cliche, overused and exhausted in our discourse, but the fact remains that a sense of safety transforms the body, transforms the spirit. So many of us walk through the world without it. So when you walk through the door and it’s a salsa beat, and brown bodies, queer bodies, all writhing in some fake smoke and strobing lights, no matter how cool, how detached, how over-it you think you are, Latin Night at the Queer Club breaks your cool. You can’t help but smile, this is for you, for us.”
— Justin Torres’ “In praise of Latin Night at the Queer Club” in The Washington Post
Right-wing Christians Can’t Mourn With Us While Rejecting Us
“If you want us to feel love, then do not tell us our sexuality is wrong or that the only way to be right is to be celibate. What we hear is actually that we are unworthy of love.
If you want us to feel equal, then do not try to justify refusing us jobs, housing, or goods and services in the name of your religious beliefs. What we hear is that we deserve to be treated as second-class citizens.
If you want us to feel community, then do not tell us that you cannot condone our marriages. What we hear is that our families are not welcome to share a neighborhood with yours.
If you want us to feel dignity, then do not tell us that we cannot be transgender or try to tell us what bathrooms we can or cannot use. What we hear is that you aren’t actually interested or invested in understanding who we are or supporting our wellness…
And if you want us to feel hope, do not encourage us to demonize Islam or pass the blame onto terrorism. What we hear is that the only way to heal as victims is to victimize others — that the only way to respond to intolerance is with more intolerance.”
— Zack Ford’s “No, We Cannot Weep Together” in Think Progress
#StopTheHate Doesn’t Address Firearm Regulation or Mental Illness
“When we say #StopTheHate, do we really mean raising our individual and group commitment to helping each other address mental illness without stigma or punishment? Isn’t that the best way to avoid these very painful kinds of projections and exteriorizing of internal suffering?
Because, since there is no organized campaign at the root of these senseless killings, since this is not ISIS, since there is no reason for more police outside of gay bars, what is this really? It’s a very confused and angry man, who no one intervened to help, who murdered 49 people for no reason, simply because he was able to buy a gun. And the stark simplicity of those facts may be the hardest thing of all to bear.”
- Sarah Schulman’s “What Does #StopHate Really Mean?” at Towleroad
LGBTQIA People Need Friends to Help Them Deal with the Trauma
“I walked to work Monday morning, searching for copycat executioners in the eyes of strangers on the street. I packed gym clothes and caught myself wondering if my tank top was too flamboyant. I watched straight people discussing queer bodies on television and wondered how they could talk about Orlando if they didn’t understand what it’s like to walk into a gay club and think, ‘Finally, I’m safe — this is home.’…
There is a good chance your charming, confident, smiling gay friend feels deeply scared and unwelcome in the world.
Ask them how they’re doing. Tell them you love them. Tell them your love doesn’t come with caveats. Tell them it’s okay to cry. Tell them they don’t deserve to be scared. Tell them that it’s okay to be scared anyway. Tell them it’s okay to be afraid of dying. Tell them that they matter to you — and that you want them here, alive, now.”
— Carlos Maza’s ”How to Talk to a Queer Person who is Afraid of Dying” in The Washington Post
We Can Only Thrive By Transforming Our Pain Into Love and Anger
“Behind the rainbows and pride parades, gay identity is defined partly by our fears of death and violence. Orlando is the most recent tragedy, and it is not an isolated event. As a community, we have been bullied and beaten. We have seen our friends take their own lives. We have seen queer children tortured and electrocuted by parents, “doctors,” and clergy trying to force impossible changes onto them. We watched our politicians gunned down in state offices. We bore AIDS, visible on our bodies, like stigmata…
If we are to remember our dead, we must keep building. We must remember our pain and turn it into love and anger. We will move forward, and we will carry our dead with us. We will mourn with tears, with glitter, and with protests. As long as we are not complacent, we will honor them and we will remember.”
— Matthew C. Nelson’s “How We Remember: A Drag Nun Reflects on Orlando” at Huffington Post
(featured image via Matthew C. Nelson/Sister Luvinya)