Yesterday’s post was a dizzying swirl of introspection. I was mostly consumed with my reaction to the events in Orlando, not the events and the people themselves. I have continued to mull over everything, and I wanted to put more emphasis on all those affected by this evil attack, and less on my personal realizations.
First: It is absolutely inexcusable that it took the largest mass shooting in U.S. history to finally motivate me to speak out against the abuse LGBTQ people live with. I should have taken it seriously. I should have listened. I should not have assumed that the motive behind all the Facebook rainbow banners was arrogance, insecurity, or a particular brand of social progress that would barrel forward without me.
The truth is, it shouldn’t have to be spelled out for me: the hatred and condescension and violence targeted towards the LGBTQ community has existed thousands of years before the inception of this country, and is massive. I remained silent out of fear when real people, people who have opened up to me, were the ones who had real reason to be afraid.
Second: I want to focus on the implications of the massacre in Pulse Night Club. The victims were attending Pulse’s Latin Night– an evening dedicated to celebrating Latin culture. This means the shooter specifically targeted LGBTQ poc (people of color). This is a direct quote from the above article:
“Amidst speculation that Mateen was motivated by Islamic extremism and renewed conversations about gun control, the media has failed to report that this attack targeted LGBTQ communities of color. A 2012 report on hate violence against the gay community found that LGBTQ people of color were 1.82 times more likely to experience physical violence. In 2012, 73.1 percent of anti-LGBTQ homicide victims were people of color – with black/African Americans accounting for 54 percent and Latinos for 15 percent, according toColorlines.”
Could the racist and homophobic motives in this mass murder be any clearer? So now the LGBTQ community is left reeling. All those who were brutally killed. All those who must now somehow keep living when bullets flew around them and pierced their friends. All those who would do and give anything for a loved one who is irreversibly beyond reach.
Consider what all people who identify as LGBTQ are experiencing right now. Consider having one true home, a place where people yell hello and smile when you walk in the door, suddenly transformed into a potential slaughterhouse. Nowhere is safe anymore.
I have a question for you. Who will you be, now that you know? Your actions towards gay, lesbian, trans*, bisexual, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, and questioning persons will fall into two main categories: benevolent or malicious. You may think that you can be neutral towards them… but that is a misconception. They need love, acceptance, and the knowledge that you are safe. Even a simple assurance that you are fighting for them is radical compared to the silence they resign themselves to.
It’s your choice. Please, make it now. For them.