I’m angry, angry that yet again queer people have been killed for being themselves. Angry that someone was able to get hold of a gun in a country that values access to weaponry greater than the lives of those killed by them.
I’m livid, livid that members of my global queer family were killed when they were in the midst of their togetherness. Livid that those early in their queer lives have been reminded many in the world will do anything to prohibit something we cannot often ignore, hide or disguise. Livid that the actions of one man will prevent many being able to be open about their sexuality. Livid that too many people across the world will see this as a victory.
I’m furious, furious I feel my argument in this knee jerk response has to be laden with disclaimers that appease the “…but people die every day” comments from keyboard warriors. Furious that 24 hours after the killings in Orlando a man was arrested in possession of home made bombs for our friends at LA Pride. Furious I’m reminded of the murder of Ian Baynham who was stamped to death in Trafalgar Square in 2011, Stuart Walker found burnt and beaten, tied to a lamppost in Scotland that same year. Furious that Osvan Santos was killed hours after winning 'Miss Gay' in Brazil. Furious that Alexis Frumin was killed by white skinheads in France. Furious that aged 16 I can remember the fear of walking into a gay bar for the first time just shortly after the Admiral Duncan bombings, fearful of my own sexuality and the fact I might be killed because of it. Furious that these stories are added to the long list of recent violence towards queers, documented in its own Wikipedia page highlighting global hatred towards my community - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Significant_acts_of_violence_against_LGBT_people
Angry, livid and furious - it’s these emotions that led so many of our community to be killed in the last decade and so I’m desperately seeking another response that isn’t hate. Although, it seems I’m not the only one battling with anger - a cursory glance through my feeds reveals the extent of our queer rage and I know this rage we feel inside of us could very easily turn into radicalism.
How do we make sure that this is not just another attack for another generation to be reminded they do not belong? Where faith or belief leads many to want to kill us. I don’t have any answers at this stage but I know more has to be done than constantly asking Peter Thatchell to do it all for us.
Is your response to the Orlando massacre going to be apathy or will you be lighting candles with each other at tonight’s vigil in Soho? Will you write, doorstep and annoy your MP who has voted against every piece of LGBT equality legislation? Will you tackle every little piece of microagressive homophobia or will you just write a tweet using #LoveWins? To those of you reading this who think this is queer beef then think again. If you “love the gays” and your GBF – I’m looking at you too, don’t play ally when it feels safe to do so.
Whatever your response is to the awful, bloody and heart wrenching events at Pulse nightclub make sure it’s loud and full of productive positivity that turns the anger into action.
Remember, our equalities are not stable, never guaranteed nor are they the same for us all – if the murder of 50 members of our community will teach us anything its that no matter how safe you feel we’re still not really as accepted, legitimate or wanted as we might think – there’s more to be done, but before that lets grieve.
Image: OutRage! Archives, 1999