Their hearts. Your hearts. My heart. Our hearts.
This is what hate does. It believes by stealing lives, by destroying a single person or group of people’s potential, that it will somehow rip the earth asunder. That a crevice will open and we will all fall into it, allowing the hatred’s distorted view of what the world should be to flourish.
But this is not what happens. We dig down. Put our roots into the earth. Reach out to hold others up. Love ferociously. Love intrepidly. Love determinedly.
This is out of our hands. We can say never again until our throats are raw, but nothing will change until Congress acts and to get Congress to act, the American people must act. White heterosexual people have allowed–if not directly encouraged–violence against POC and queer people in increasing amounts over the last few years, and especially in this election cycle. Everyone who has refused to stop Trump, Cruz, Rubio and other GOP leaders’ homophobic and racist statements over the last few years is directly complicit in the crime committed in Orlando this weekend. You allowed this culture to flourish.
My concern is for the victims’ families. For the victims. And for every teen on the verge of coming out, who lives in a dangerous environment and was feeling brave but is now terrified.
To the victims’ families,
You join the ranks of thousands of other families reeling from the loss of a loved one in the wake of gun violence. I am so sorry. I am so sorry that our politicians have been willfully unwilling to make change because they line their pockets with money from the NRA. I am so sorry that we have been willfully unwilling as a people to get these people out of office. We are all guilty. There is nothing I can say that will ease your pain. I hope the media gives you the space you need to mourn. You are in my heart.
To the victims,
I am glad you had Pulse. I am glad you had a community. Our community. Your community. I am glad you were touched and held and full of music and lights before the end. I am sorry there was an end. This should not have happened. It was so preventable. It was negligence by gun lobbyists, the NRA, and Congress.
And once again, the queer POC community has borne the brunt of hate and fear and intolerance.
You have lost so much already. Yesterday, you lost more. My heart cannot contain my grief for you.
I never knew you and now I never will and this is what was stolen. More than safety. Potential.
We will rebuild Pulse. We will be there again. Your names will not be erased or forgotten. Your potential will be remembered. You are loved in present tense.
To the queer teen suffering in silence because of fear,
Your fear is justified. You are not being dramatic. The world is terrifying and hateful sometimes. Not all of the time, but enough. It’s okay.
You do not have to come out or be loud and proud if you don’t want to, or if you will be unsafe.
You always come first. Your safety comes first. Your mental health comes first.
You are important. You matter. And even though you don’t know us yet, we in the queer community love you and treasure you.
When you are ready, we will be here. And until you are ready, we will be your voice, your cheerleader, and your protector. We will do the work now so the world is safer for you, just as the generations before us did the heavy lifting to get us this far.
The world can be terrible but it is also full of light and love and joy. It is the ocean breaking over your feet with your toes curled in the sand. You forget about the sharks for a moment. Find the moments in your life. Seek them out and cling to them. Imprint them on your memory.
We have always survived and endured. We are finally getting to live and no one–not a terrorist, not a presidential candidate, or a school bully–can take that away.
You will know when you are ready to join us and we will be here with open arms.
Stay. Breathe. Wait out this storm. Never forget you matter. You are loved. You are family. You are irreplaceable. We are here if you need us.
My inbox is always open for queer teens needing to reach out for support. I am here if you need me. Even if you email and just request kitten gifs, or funny stories, or my favorite fic.
If you want to support the victims of the homophobic terroristic hate crime at Pulse this weekend, you can give to their (legit) fundraiser here: Support Victims of Pulse Shooting.