In the wake of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, a lot of the way I live — things I do and say and take for granted — feel like acts of rebellion. And maybe they are, which is a massive shift in perspective. But if tragedy does anything, it makes you re-evaluate.
My heart goes out to everyone affected by this. To those who are grieving a loved one. Those who have a loved one in the hospital. To the queer community, who is feeling this reverberate as far away as Canada, and likely further than that. To the Muslim community, that is currently under unearned fire for what happened. To those in Orlando, who are living in the aftermath of violence. I send all of you my love, and I will keep all of you in my prayers.
There’s not a lot I can do from Canada to try and help these people. I wish there was. What I can do, though, is keep on with what I have been doing. I’m going to go to the Pride events in my town this week. I’m going to take my babygays with me, however many want to go. I’m going to keep reaching out to queer youth in my town. I’m going to keep speaking out, educating my friends and family and total strangers about queer history and heteronormativity and why so many casual comments and assumptions are not okay. I’m going to keep writing stories for and about queer people, where we get to have happy endings. I’m going to keep living out and proud, fighting against femme invisibility, homophobia, and transphobia.
I refuse let fear stop me. Because no one can truly predict how or when or where hatred will erupt into violence. All we can do is try to put love into the world — by refusing to hurt each other further with ignorance, intolerance, and laying blame; by giving hope to those who need it; by choosing to be a voice for those who are too afraid or in too much danger to speak. By opening our arms and our hearts to those who are hurting. But most importantly, by opening our mouths to create change so that this doesn’t keep happening.
Queer people are, first and foremost, people. We have walked among and beside you for as long as culture has existed. Our love and identities are not new — we are just trying to break free of the darkness and silence that was imposed on us. And, whatever you might think of us, we have the right to exist. Someone tried to take that from us.
And please, notice that I said someone — not “some culture” or “some group” or “some religion”. This was the act of a person filled with hate. Flinging around more hate and intolerance is not the answer.
I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.