I’m still thinking a lot about the murders in Orlando. Like this gay teen, I acknowledge this isn’t my story; I don’t know anyone there who was killed. Yet as a lesbian who has taken her share of comfort in queer spaces like bars and dances, I understand that the idea of a safe space is gone. (I like that this piece notes that this is the worst massacre by a single gunman, but not the worst ever. Saying it’s the worst ever ignores history like the massacre at Wounded Knee. )
Reaction continues to roll in; analysis of layer by layer of the perpetrator’s life and choices. Some posts are about mourning, some are about rage. Here are a few pieces that have resonated with me of the hundreds over the past couple of days.
This shooting is not a surprise given the hatred that is through and through people’s words and actions on a daily basis. Religious leaders actively supporting discrimination and violence against LGBTQ people are fueling these fires. “So many politicians, teachers, parents, churches, and twitter trolls have preached hate for long enough that of course this happened,” says Jeffery Self, who urges, “DO SOMETHING.”
Milo Todd writes, “This isn’t a one-time thing. Pulse should most definitely be getting the greatest of attention at this moment in time. But that’s not to say that, once the news has died down, you think, ‘Man, sure glad that’s over.’ Because it’s not over. It’s never over. We deal with this kind of fear and hate on a daily basis.”
America’s political parties and representatives need to face up their own work: “If one more Republican tells me they have gay friends, I’m gonna scream,” Democratic Representative Sean Patrick Maloney is quoted. “I don’t care that they have gay friends. I care that they’re voting against equality.”
#LoveWins, the simple and powerful words being used to fight grief and rage and horror, have emphasized the need to keep fighting homophobia and stigma. In Russia, a couple was arrested for attempting to leave a Love Wins poster at the American Embassy.
The push against homophobia and denying human rights has to stop. Orlando reminds us; our hearts guide us.