I had absolutely no intention of writing this post. I usually avoid things that anger me greatly and/or that everyone is already talking about for various reasons (that’s why I haven’t written anything about the election or Cosby or never-ending police brutality). I had planned to write about my weekend at #SOBSFCon2016 and talk about how I am now even more invigorated in my love for the Black Speculative Arts. But Sunday morning while I was sitting at my table at the con I pulled out my phone to upload a picture and what I saw looking back at me on IG completely destroyed any plan I made. Seeing people I know talking about friends that had lost to an act as senseless as the massacre in Orlando made me break my rule of not talking about stuff too close to home, and here’s why.
While yes, that could have been me here in Atlanta getting gunned down, that’s not why. While yes, I could have been one of the people desperately calling a friend trying to see if they were still alive, that’s not why either. The why is because I WASN’T any of that. It’s really easy for me to disengage, to log off, and not deal with this stuff because it’s not (fully) at my front door. I have the luxury of logging off FB/Twitter/IG and not engaging. But to not engage just does more of what has been happening forever; it does more to erase the queer people of color who lost their lives at Pulse. To not talk about it is an insult to their memory, it is to once again, pretend like gay Black and LatinX folks don't exist, like they aren't out here living their black ass and LatinX ass lives, and like they aren't being murdered just for being queer just as much (and probably more) than the white queers. For me to be silent is to allow my QPOC family to be pushed to the margins once again, and I can't do that. The very least I can do is step out of my comfort zone and talk about what happened.
And as I talk about it I have to do what I can to fight against what caused the massacre. And no, Islam, ISIS, or whatever Donald Trump and your stupid ass conservative “friends” are saying is NOT what caused this. (Anyone who is actually Muslim is too busy trying not to pass out during Ramadan to go shooting up a gay club). Don’t let your irrational (and yes, it’s irrational) fear of people who are different make you stupid enough to believe that an entire religion full of people is out to kill you. Besides, if they were, well…And no my Christian brothers and sisters, this did not happen because of “sin” nor is this another Sodom and Gomorrah. I actually need yall to read your Bibles (Old Testament ways are GONE people) and think, if God was sending out soldiers to eradicate sinful people, why did Sandy Hook and the Charleston Massacre happen? That last one was IN A CHURCH! No, this happened because of homophobia. Plan and simple. That man hated gay folks (the jury is still out on whether he himself was gay or not) and wanted them dead. And guess what? So does the majority of America.
Yes, yes, I know. I hear all the people now. “I don’t want gay people dead! I just don’t agree with their lifestyle!” “I just think that's not of the culture! I have a right to believe that!” I hear all yall out there sounding like Miss Millie. But when your form of support is to emphasize how “no sin is greater than the other” or “Homosexuality is wrong because....(insert botched biology or one sided history here)” before you offer some half baked condolences it aint support and honestly you could just shut the fuck up. Imagine if I bust up in your funeral and said “I hated that he/she stole money from their job but...RIP!” Think about how mad we as a whole got when the media started reporting that Prince and Michael Jackson may have been addicted to drugs after they died. Why did we get mad? Because it didn’t matter! It didn’t matter what they did just like your opinions on “the lifestyle” don’t matter. Just say RIP, shut up, and move on. That is literally it. The fact that you feel entitled to give your opinion when people are DEAD is part of the problem. That is part of the reason why people like the shooter felt like it was okay to take these people’s lives, because being gay made them less of a person.
And it happens every day. We see people attack gay folks all.the.time., and it aint always with a semi-automatic. We see it when people tell their boys to “man up” and “stop acting like a sissy”. We see it when they tell girls to “act like a lady” and that “you act like a little dude”. We see it, to paraphrase a few of my friends, when same gender loving folks become runaways, when Bible verses are used as bullets to gun down people emotionally, spiritually and psychologically, and when the same folks we go to bat for, the same folks who smile in our faces every day refuse to love us outside of what we can do for them. The religious freedom bills, the bathroom laws, the way you roll your eyes whenever there’s a gay couple on TV or when a boy wants to dance or a girl wants to wear pants and a button down instead of a dress or a pantsuit, all of these things and so much more are everyday ways that we as a society are violent towards the same people we claim to feel so bad for right now. You might not be shooting us in the face, but you damn sure aint helping the case I can tell you that.
There were really so many other things I could say here. I could talk more about the need to remember that this is an American problem, not a terrorist problem and not a foreign problem, but something WE have to deal with. I could talk more about how because pretty much all of the victims were gay people of color we as Black and LatinX people have to talk about how we’re gonna protect the LGBTQ people in our communities (particularly the T of them). I could talk more about how it is utterly ridiculous that this man was able to get the weapons necessary to do this (while this is primarily a homophobia issue, gun control matters here too). I could talk about whether or not this is the worst mass shooting does not matter for anything outside of historical purposes (your claim that this is erasing Black history doesn't really work when a lot of these folks were Black too). I could REALLY talk about how fucked up it is that the only thing the "woke" folks and staunch religious conservatives seem to agree on is homosexuality. I could talk about so much more, but I already know that it's a waste because many of yall will never get it. You’ll never realize just how damaging your behavior is to a large section of the world. But yet and still I pray (to the one God, not the one yall praying to that’s full of hate) that somebody, even if it's just one person, sees this and makes a change. I pray that it can start as small as it need be, and that it grows to full blown acceptance, not tolerance. I pray that we realize that true, agape love is what we need right now, because without that the blood of the 50+ people in Orlando and every gay person brutalized by another homophobic asshole is on your hands.
If no one else tells you, to all my queer fam I love you. Living every day out here is a revolution in and of itself. Keep living.