I am angry. I am heartbroken. I am annoyed. I am pissed. I am scared. I am confused. I am numb.
Orlando was an act of terror on the LGBTQ and Latinx Communities of America. It was a targeted hate crime. Whether or not the individual was dealing with internal homophobia due to conflicting identities, or ISIL ordered them, it was homophobic, transphobic and racist. Disregard that they had an AR15 and handgun. It could very well have been knives, throwing stars or a bomb. They were on a mission of hate and they would have found a way to kill. Laws and policies are not the core of this issue. It is the hate. It is the inability to recognize the humanity in someone who is different than you.
I was exhausted by noon yesterday from reading about the gun laws that needed to be changed; how the shooting was an attack on America; how it was terrorism against freedom. I was exhausted from online communities who are so fragile that those hurting and those trying to support turn against each other; from reading Tweets and Facebook posts by those who supported the actions of the gunman. I was exhausted from reading the names of the victims.
What got me through it, were the acts of allyship that were shown to me. Getting Facebook messages from fraternity brothers such as Devin, Drew, Jon and David letting me know that they were there for me, messages from friends from years ago, such as Liz, letting me know that they are thinking of me, GIFs from Carly who reminded me to do self-care, it was a hug from Tom who left their space and came to my office, who had recognized that I was struggling even though I was smiling and throwing up the positive front.
But now what, now that I’m back at the grind with a renewed spirit, allbeit, tired but renewed, none the less.
What do I do with my online communities I am a part of, that no longer bring our field together? What do I do with representatives who are making sure to focus on the guns and laws rather than the core of the problem…the hatred. What do I do with this anger that’s beginning to form.
I show up with my sleeves rolled up and continue on.
I write to my representatives. I reach out and talk one on one with friends, family and colleagues. I work on being unapologetically gay and hold space as I am, not who I am suppose/expected to be. I work on my own understanding and practices of how to be an ally. I work on advising my students even better. I work on being more open with others. I work to tear down the wall I’ve put up guarding me from the outside world. I volunteer more often. I fight for queer space for myself, for my students and for my community. I use my platforms and voice to keep this movement alive such as those who have fought it
before me. I take the anger and heartbreak and turn it into action. I tell my story.
As with everything I post, I’m processing and reflecting but this is where I am today.
Until next time,
Peace, Love and Pandas!