In Memoriam: The Pulse Nightclub Shooting
I am not as heartbroken as I should be.
I am not as infuriated as I should be.
I am numb.
I am numb because I don’t know how to bear witness without falling apart. I don’t know how to FEEL all that I need to feel, while still leading the happy and healthy life that is my birthright. I’ve been angry before, and I probably will be again. But right now, I am numb. I am numb because this didn’t surprise me. What is surprising, or new, or unexpected, about yet another mass shooting? What is surprising, or new, or unexpected, about a marginalized community being targeted?
I’m currently reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. He talks a lot about black bodies, and how, in America, the destruction of black bodies is traditional, heritage. How women’s bodies are also “set out for pillage” (65). How “the right to break the bodies was the mark of civilization” (104).
And LGBTQ bodies. Prior to last night, the most deadly attack on LGBTQ bodies in America occurred in 1973, when 23 men were burned alive in a New Orleans nightclub.
The destruction of all of these bodies is because they dare to be in public; they dare to be seen. Maybe they even dare to love themselves.
I don’t want to be numb, and I sure as hell don’t want to send my fucking “thoughts and condolences.” (But if you want to, more power to you.) I want to continue to educate myself and decolonize my mind. I want to actively create safe and inclusive spaces. I want to SEE you, all of my beloved friends who are members of the LGBTQ community, who are members of the Latinx community, who are members of any community whose bodies are systemically destroyed. I want to celebrate you, and everything you are, and how you still are standing up, for yourselves, for each other, for love.
In love, solidarity, and power.