Over the past few days, I’ve just felt…gut punched. Empty.
This latest mass shooting (fuck…”this latest mass shooting”) has really kicked my ass emotionally on a level I can’t shake and probably won’t for a while.
An obvious thing to state is that I can’t come close to where I can fathom the level of hatred and self-loathing that is required to be someone like the shooter at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.
I can only begin to imagine the terror that the victims of that mass murder felt in their last moments and that the survivors of that attack will experience for years to come.
I ache for the parents of these victims…the children of these victims. Everyone who was left behind. People who watched their friends gunned down right next to them and are experiencing survivor’s guilt for making it out of their alive.
I’m ANGRY and full of sorrow that it’s 2016 and homosexuality is still something that incites fear and rage in people who have failed to evolve, who were raised by bigots, who believe their faith condemns it, and/or people who can’t accept their own genetic make-up that has predisposed them to be someone they fear and they lash out. It boggles the mind.
And, in a sense, I feel guilty for being able to, as a queer woman, blend in and, for the most part, be safe from the violence that is doled out to the LGBTQIA community merely for EXISTING because I happen to “pass” since I’m married to a cisgender male and present as “fully acceptable” to low functioning bigots who feel it’s within their rights, somehow, to assault and/or kill someone who doesn’t love in the same way they think they do.
I have spent so much time in clubs like Pulse. I have friends that still do spend time in clubs like Pulse: Clubs where you know you can go and be around people who GET you. People who, maybe like yourself, don’t quite feel authentic in “a straight club”.
I’ve met people over the years at these clubs, people who were out, proud, dancing, joyous and free….and met them by happenstance later “in the real world” with their coworkers or family and it would take me a minute or so to recognize them because they were presenting completely different. It’s like part of their personhood was stashed away for self-preseveration.
More than once I was met with a look of “Oh fuck..don’t out me, don’t out me…” because they were NOT able to be who I had met in a sea of happy, dancing, tipsy beautiful creatures unencumbered by the world’s expectations of them.
So many times, these exchanges were a knowing nod, a smile with eyes only, and a reunion later on at the club, “OH MY GOD, IT WAS SO WEIRD AND COOL TO SEE YOU YOU AT THE COFFEE SHOP…thanks for being cool…because obviously, those guys don’t know the real me…”
Why do we need gay clubs? Because of THIS.
As part of the community in the capacity that I am, this hit home. And as a “passable bisexual/pansexual/omnivore”, I’ve had the tinges of guilt for knowing that I’m NOT really a target – I know I’m not because I’ve been face to face with people who will outright say the DUMBEST SHIT in my presence not knowing who I am. And not because I’m hiding, but because I’m in a heterosexual marriage and I don’t look like who they hate.
I often remind them that looks can be deceiving and that they should realize that when talking to, well, anyone.
And there’s the added factor that “this latest mass shooting” has hit a primarily Latino/Latina portion of the LGBTQIA community – I can’t co-opt that aspect of of it, but I can only imagine the extra kick in the head that feels like to those that see themselves that much more in the faces of the victims we’ve seen in photos.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry to everyone in the LGBTQIA community that is hurting right now, who is bewildered by the blatant display of hatred, not just from this one gunman, but from some of the people – politicians, clergy, etc. – who have come out with such vitriol that it’s no less than salt in open, bloody wounds to those of us who have to read/hear it.
This coming during Pride month seems like just an added insult. Like a dare NOT to be proud. Like a warning to crawl back into the closet a little for safety.
Fuck that. Fuck all of it.
You are loved.
Because, in my view anyhow, I’ve seen even more SUPPORT for equality, for the safety of the LGBTQIA community. People who previously hadn’t said anything because they thought their support was a given, but who are now LOUDLY stating their position against hate because they know their silence isn’t helping anyone.
Be proud of who you are. It’s not you who should be ashamed. It’s people who hate themselves and fear what they don’t understand and lash out at you who should be the fuck ashamed. Not you.
You are loved.
If you haven’t come out, I would say that right now it’s probably even scarier, but just know that you are loved, and you are supported, and your voice is as valid and your existence is as valid as everyone else’s who has proudly stated who they are.
You are loved.
Fuck hate. You are loved. Let’s dance.
Happy Pride. ❤