Just Give Us One Day: A Response to Orlando
Four days after I wrote a post about why I’m doing what I’m doing (travelling around the world for 1.5 years interviewing LGBTQ activists), a shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, has left 50 people dead and 53 people injured.
I know this might not be a very popular opinion, but can we please just have 24 hours to mourn without things getting political?
I don’t need to hear pro-gun arguments about how if there were more guns this wouldn’t have happened. Nor do I need pro-regulation arguments about how this wouldn’t have happened if there were restrictions on gun ownership.
I don’t need to see debates about whether or not prayer is actually useful in these situations or not.
I don’t need to hear the arguments about people only caring because it happened in the USA/the West. That’s not true. At least in the LGBTQ community, I’ve seen a higher awareness of the struggles of our LGBTQ siblings around the world than in the general population. This response is so big because of the magnitude of violence, and yes because it happened in a place that is supposed to be a safe space, in a country that (albeit only recently) grants LGBTQ people the same rights as straight people.
I don’t need to hear the bigoted arguments about this being an inherently Islamic terrorism problem or how the USA needs to ban Muslims. And I also don’t need to hear the “unapologetically Muslim” comments at the moment, about how this isn’t about Islam and no one blamed Christians for Hitler or the KKK, though I understand why people are feeling to need to defend themselves and their religion.
Let’s just talk about us today.
(And by us I mean all who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community – whatever race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc)
About how gay men in Orlando can’t give blood to their wounded brothers. About how the same is true if this happened in Canada.
About how even little inborn prejudices build a culture where these atrocities are not unbelievable. A culture where many religious people – Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, etc – believe that LGBTQ people are sinners and non-religious people just can’t stand that “ick” factor.
About how I still feel the need to disclose that a movie has “gay themes” before I suggest it for viewing among friends, when no one does that when I watch a “straight” movie.
About how we are constantly coming out, and unsure if it’s always safe, because of the heteronormative assumptions that we have partners of the opposite sex, or identify as the gender you perceive us to be, or identify with a gender at all.
About how this is just the horrific peak of violence that too many LGBTQ people experience daily around the world.
About how many LGBTQ people around the world are mourning alone, afraid of outing themselves to a hostile environment.
And worst of all is the knowledge that there are many people celebrating this atrocity, or at least excusing it. In our own countries and those around the world.
Please, for just one day. For just 24 hours, let this be about us. About homophobia. About hatred because of who we love.
Let our community mourn. Let us mourn the loss of lives, the loss of innocence, the loss of a general feeling of safety among our “safe spaces.”
Yes, it may take this tragedy to “wake people up” to the horrors and effects of guns, homophobia, ignorance, and apathy. But let’s talk about that tomorrow.
Just give us a day. A day of rest on this Sunday. You can restart the political mudslinging tomorrow.