praying for orlando.

Yesterday, June 12, I woke up at 6:30AM and heard the news of the shooting in Orlando, FL. Over 100 LGBT+ people of color at a (predominantly Latinx) gay club in Orlando were shot. Of those, 50 were killed. The shooter’s father confirmed the shooter was motivated by rage at seeing two men kissing during Pride in Orlando. This was a hate crime, and the deadliest mass shooting in our nation.

At 7AM, I sat myself down to finish editing the closed captioning on my #ReadProud video, 23 minutes of LGBTQIAP+ book recommendations, over 30 titles mentioned. The captions alone took me about 5 hours in total.

I was numb as I fixed YouTube’s auto-detected words for a joke about the Dead Lesbian Trope when there were actual lesbians and other members of the LGBT+ community dying on the other side of my country.

Today, I am proud of who I am: a queer woman of color, a survivor of rape, a “feminist killjoy.”

I am also intensely aware that my existence could very well get me shot if I dare to attend events to celebrate my identity as a member of the LGBT+ community.

I could be harassed, bullied, sexually assaulted on the street total strangers, as the “men’s rights activist” group “Return of Kings” reminded me when they coordinated events to network in cities around the world. My city, and others in my state, were included in the list of events planned to take place in public spaces. (Eventually, these events were cancelled due to public outcry, but it does not negate the existence of these men in my city. It does not make me feel any more safe.)

I am used as an excuse for transphobia and bigotry when rape survivors are put forth as “evidence” in order to legislate trans people and take away their rights in public spaces.

At the same time, I am reminded I could never hope for justice when rape trials are so severely mishandled as to protect white men from their actions instead of protecting the women they will inevitably encounter as the rapists go about the rest of their lives unscathed, unmolested, unviolated.

Yesterday, I spent hours doing what I could to put LGBT+ books in the hands of the people who, today, want or need to escape into better lives through fiction. Because in the world that we live in, we are not guaranteed our happiness, our bodies, our lives.

All my love, my thoughts, my prayers, go out to the LGBT+ community in Florida, as well as the friends and family of the victims.

Here is a list of the deceased.

To those celebrating Pride, I love you. To those who do not feel safe enough to attend, I love you. To those who are in mourning, to those who are scared, to those who are visibly or invisibly queer, to the Muslim LGBT+ community, to all queer people of color, I love you I love you I love you.


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