I was going to write a more ‘traditional’ article in reflection of the horrible mass shooting in Orlando, in which Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured over 50 at the Pulse nightclub, but the format didn’t seem appropriate to me. For things that hit me so hard, emotionally, I am more partial to tirades, lists and venting out words and thoughts as one method of healing. I am so, so grateful and fortunate to have been able to (somewhat) process this tragedy, to grieve alongside my brown and/or queer friends and to affirm and celebrate ourselves in a world in which living our joy and our truth doesn’t come easily and is so often met with disdain or violence. I spent last weekend swimming in music and dancing in spaces curated by and nurturing for LGBQTQIA folks and womxn, also imagining myself in a safe space as much as possible. Though I have through luck and privilege been able to escape a lot of (not all) violence in my life, so many don’t have that luck or privilege; I still feel the ease with which any one of us, no matter our guts or fire or beauty can lapse into apathy or fear when violence – systemic and individual – feels pervasive and inescapable, especially for people who are already the most marginalized and disenfranchised. I am at a point in my journey where I don’t have the ability to divorce one kind of violence or oppression from another, where my personal is political, where history and context are not optional and where the details of who is harming whom and why and how matter. The words that follow are a reckoning of all of this mess, in a list of things I’m not here for.
i’m not here for Islamaphobia –
For calling all Muslims (prospective) terrorists, but finding justification and nuance for wars, drone strikes, white mass murderers, rapists and the KKK (a Christian organization).
For finding inherent fault in the cultures and existence of ‘foreign’ peoples while ignoring the fuckedupness of an imperial U.S. built by slavery and genocide and that runs on xenophobia.
I’m not here for racism –
For delusions that real hatred, violence and terrorism have a specific skin color, ethnicity or nationality. (How many brown civilians have died or fear death from U.S. drone strikes?)
For failing to center the fact that the victims were Latinx, mostly Puerto Rican, and that some were undocumented. (How many brown bodies have been withered in the name of borders?)
I’m not here for toxic masculinity –
For the havoc it wreaks in our homes and on the streets and on our bodies, and for the way it is ignored and inevitably escalates into violence and death.
For the armies and police and prisons and systemic violence that feed off of it and the armies and police (ISIS, NYPD) that ‘inspired’ this tragedy.
I’m not here for erasure –
For this tragedy to be framed as an attack on the U.S. as if the U.S. even ‘allows’ Latinxs and LGBTQIA folks to be real Americans worthy of sympathy, equality and humanity otherwise.
For pretending that hate and hate crimes affect us all the same, when in fact they affect LGBTQIA folks, and especially those who are not-cis and not-white.
I’m not here for opportunism –
For people only (pretending to be) showing up for LGBTQIA people after a tragedy, but are permissive or participate in oppression in their daily lives.
For politicians that tear up tragedies and toss them in the fire that heats up their agendas of business as usual.
I’m not here for a lot –
But I’m not here to give up, either.