I’ve been trying to find the right words since I heard about the shooting in Pulse, a gay bar in Orlando, but all I have are tears, anger and the ability to retweet people who are far more articulate than me.
That this happened in a gay bar, a safe haven for so many LGBTQ+ people is heartbreaking beyond belief. That it happened on Latin night means LGBTQ+ people of colour were affected even more, you only have to look at the names of those murdered to realise this.
Some will say this was a homophobic attack. Some will say this was an act of terrorism. It was both. It was an act of homophobic terrorism. A mass shooting in a gay bar during Pride month couldn’t be anything less.
Do not try to tell me that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are harmless. Queerphobia is never harmless. It builds and it builds and this is the result. 50 people are dead and at least 53 people were injured. This was a devastating act of homophobic terrorism.
This is why Pride is still important. This is why we still march. There are people who despise LGBTQ+ people so much that they will kill them. So often, queer people are told “we don’t mind what you do as long it’s behind closed doors” the gunman walked through those doors and opened fire. LGBTQ+ people no longer have a sanctuary. This was an attack on the entire LGBTQ+ community.
Sadness, fear, anger and frustration – I’ve felt it all in the last 24 hours and I live an ocean away from where it happened. It’s all valid. You don’t get to police how queer people react to this. We don’t have to act in a way that seems appropriate to you. This was an act of homophobic terrorism. You don’t get to ignore the homophobic element simply because the terrorism and Islamic element best fits your own agenda. You do not get to write queer people and particularly LGBTQ+ people of colour out of an attack that was against them. You do not get to control the narrative. You do not get to rewrite history. This was an act of homophobic terrorism. You will let queer people speak.
To conservative politicians offering thoughts and prayers for the victims, while standing over anti-LGBTQ+ legislation particularly the recent spate of anti-trans bathroom bills; we see you. Your agendas are showing. We see you and we won’t forget.