Orlando, Part 2

Ashleigh’s wonderful Part 1.

I have been inputing, inputing, inputing all day–articles, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, videos–about the hate crime by mass shooting at Pulse in Orlando on Sunday morning. My mind has been a series of sound bites and likes of other people’s thoughts, as I am still processing and piecing together the bits in my head, and I will still be thinking about it and have new thoughts for the next God knows how long. I say this, because every paragraph from here on out is just a series of jumbled thoughts in my head, connected only by immense sorrow and anger at the systems that have brought us to this point.

49 people died, over 50 people were injured. Here is a list of the victims who have been identified so far. Everything hurts and I hate everything, and while that might not be an eloquent way to frame a mass tragedy, those are the feels right now.

Over the past 24 hours, I’ve been trying to push the personal narrative in my head away from “I was just at Noche Latina at Neighbors.” My thought process: this isn’t about me, I need to keep the 49 victims and their family in center of my mind.  But I think it’s important to acknowledge that WE WERE THERE, in the same space, different state. Literally, I was at a Latin Night, at a queer bar, celebrating my queer Latix friends, one week ago. Saying and processing this is scary, because this tragedy did not happen in a vacuum; it’s a product of our transphobic, homophobic, racist  environment that exists everywhere in the United States, from Orlando to Seattle. It IS about me, not me so much as an individual, but me as part of a larger community of queer brown folks of color. Anything we do is a radical act, and nothing guarantees our safety.

I also had a realization at morning that the Pulse shooting will be in the history books (please let it be in the history books, please don’t erase this). In 10, 15, 20 years, future children will be learning about the largest American shooting since Wounded Knee or the Tulsa Massacre. At that point, will we be at a better place? It’s a lie to say my little brain can’t even comprehend that answer, because I know the answer is, tragically, probably not.

My heart especially goes out to queer and trans Muslim individuals. Our society–certain queer communities included–”understands” intersectionality on an infuriating superficial level: we can often times define it, but rarely remember to put it into practice. So I know in white-dominated LGBTQ spaces, Islamophobia may be prevalent right now, without any regard how trans and queer Muslims and other trans and queer individuals of color are feeling. In the ways that you can, take care of yourself, and may you or an ally have the strength to clapback at ignorance if it is hurled your way. More importantly: if you’re in the dominant identities in spaces, check yourself.

Much of the media refused to describe Pulse as a queer bar. I am not surprised. Do better. Say what is going on, call this what it is: a hate crime. This happened at a queer bar during Latin Night. The majority, if not all, of the victims are queer Latinx individuals. Do not ignore the complexities, the isms, of what is happening.

I refuse to acknowledge…well, first and foremost, Donald Goddamn J. Trump, and his fuckery over “being right” about “radical Islamic terrorism,” Jesus Christ. But also a number of politicians who have tweeted and expressed their condolences. Because a) your refusal to recognize trans and queer lives, your drive to create and push bill after anti-LGBTQ bill, has created this hate. And b) so many more of these politicians received funding from the NRA and/or voted against assault weapon ban bills. For a more info on this, @igorvolsky’s Twitter feed right now has some pretty rage-inducing read receipts.

“Our culture and institutions like the media, like education, like prison, have actually been complicit in this attack, and are complicit in the ways that our bodies are put at risk every single day.”  Bea Esperanza Fonseca said this earlier in a response video featuring trans and queer Latinx community leaders. This is the saddest and wisest thing. Because this is the truth. Hate did not suddenly wake up at 2 a.m. on June 12 in Orlando. It was born a long time ago. It has been bred in these stupid anti-LGBTQ that are official and very real ways of denying people their freedoms because: bigotry. It’s been bred in constant physical and emotional attacks toward queer people. It’s been bred out of churches and religions and rhetoric that condone queer folks (and before we start with the Islamophobia and blaming all Muslims, please see paragraph five, and remember that the Christian religion is far from blameless)  This has been a long time coming, and I say this not in a weird oracle-y or insensitive way, but as someone who has seen firsthand and learned and read about acts of violence toward trans and queer people, especially trans and queer individuals of color. This is not an isolated incident. Oh my god, this was never an isolated incident. This hate has been created by our institutional systems–political and religious and educational and criminal and etc etc etc, and in my current rage and sorrow and frustration at this, all I can say at this point is Stop. Killing us.

That’s all I have. I’m tired and angry and numb and explosive and saddened and just insert all of the emotions here. If anyone has some tangible action steps, or has more points to elaborate on these points, let me know.


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