I am still struggling with processing the horrific tragedy in Orlando, FL this past weekend. Waking up I could not have imagined that while my girlfriend and I were readying ourselves for the upcoming NYC Pride Parade that we would hear such heartbreaking news.
The shooting at Pulse nightclub is one that has had a profound impact on the world, especially to those in the LGBTQ community. It has brought up conversations around the continuing and very valid fears members of LGBTQ community face on a daily basis. Recently I wrote a guest post on the realities of being a lesbian millennial managing adulthood that focused on this very reality; The Millennial Mind Fuck: Coming Out, Adulting, and Keeping it Real.
This massacre is the deadliest shooting in US History. Although there are numerous outlets and vigils dedicated to acknowledging the clear homophobic roots of the attack there are many that are trying to avoid even casually stating this very obvious reality. Even more distressing homophobic people are flocking to social media to congratulate the shooter on “doing God’s work”. Trying to make sense of all of this is not easy and I encourage anyone who is feeling triggered by the events or the media coverage in any way to seek services. I will have a list of hotlines below.
When I looked through my feed on facebook and I was overwhelmed by the coverage from every outlet I follow – from Buzzfeed to the New York Times to my snap chat – I was completely entrenched in the thick of the details and the names and stories of the victims and survivors. I searched for the supportive embrace of friends and family, but to my ultimate and unfortunate surprise I saw their absence completely. Not one of my family members posted a word about this on their social media pages or even reached out to me. In addition a large group of my friends, especially the straight ones, seemed to be ignoring it holistically.
The silence from these people and news outlets says something a lot stronger than what I think they even realize. It says we are invisible; that despite the fact that the battle that we face privately on a daily basis became public in a horrible way, it is still being unimportant. That feeling, that invisibility that is so real on so many different levels is exactly why I have come to love pride month. It is a month where we are supposed to be able to express ourselves openly and find acknowledgment in our community.
I hate so much that this tragedy took place in one of our sanctuaries, but it is so beautiful to see the people who ARE coming out in support of the LGBTQ community. Let’s keep things in perspective and come together. This year will be me and my girlfriend’s first visit to the pride parade in NYC (comment if you have no one to go with and want to explore it with an awesome group of gays) and we are so so excited to spend it with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
WE ARE ORLANDO – WE HAVE A RIGHT TO EXIST – WE ARE VALID.
My hope is that in the face of this tragedy our country will be inspired to make change. Prayer is simply not enough. We need serious policy change. It is our right to feel safe in our communities, in churches, on our streets, and in our celebrations. Speak up and end the silence.
Hotlines – click the links to see hours:
GLBT National Hotline 1-888-843-4564
GLBT National Youth Talkline 1-800-246-7743 (Serving youth through age 25).
Trans Teens Online Talk Group (A weekly moderated group for trans teens ages 12-19 Wednesdays 4-6 pm pacific