When We Talk About Orlando

pulseI went on two Twitter rants about the Orlando mass shooting since it occurred and what I’m going to do now is reiterate the three points I made in those Twitter rants for posterity (and with fewer “fuck you’s”, but they’re still implied).

When we talk about Orlando, we have to talk about the politicians that offer their thoughts and prayers while they continue to take money from the gun lobby. We have to talk about how they value their nickels and dimes more than common sense that could save lives. We have to talk about how they are so thirsty for votes that they will sacrifice whatever morality they might have on that altar made from spent shells and innocent blood. We have to talk about how they are so keen to protect the status quo, to protect their status in the hierarchy, that they will let people die so they can remain at the the top.  When we talk about Orlando, we have to talk about the price that has been put on our lives.

When we talk about Orlando, we have to talk about the breeding ground for hate. This was a hate crime. Nobody muttered the word “terrorist” until it was found that the shooter identified as Muslim. If this shooting had been perpetrated by a white Christian male (and when the news broke in the early morning hours, that’s exactly who I first thought the killer would be), he would be a “lone wolf” shooter. He would have been another Dylan Roof, but for the LGBTQ crowd. We have to talk about how so many “good Christians” are remaining silent about Orlando because they want to blame the victims (“I’m sorry it happened, but God says that homosexuality…”), but they can’t because that would align them with the shooter and more importantly with a religion they abhor. We have to talk about how many politicians have lobbied for bathroom laws, for sodomy laws, against marriage equality, against gay adoption. We have to talk about the preachers that use the pulpit to spread the message that being gay is an abomination, that we should “love the sinner, hate the sin”, that God can cure them of their homosexuality. We have to talk about how this shooting will be used to fuel Islamaphobia by both the politicians in their pursuit for votes and by the “good Christians” in their pursuit for conversion. We have to talk about how this fuckhead will be held up as an example of an entire religion, a lie that will be repeatedly told and with fervor. We have to talk about how millions of people are called upon to denounce this one fuckstick’s actions, but are still demonized. When we talk about Orlando, we have to talk about the casual way our society makes us less than.

When we talk about Orlando, we have to talk about the fact that the victims were gay. The media is glossing over this fact. People are taking to social media to ram home the terrorism part of the rhetoric, to ram home the fact that these were AMERICANS killed and that is more important than the victims being gay. No, it isn’t. We have to talk about the fact that before they were dead AMERICANS they were living GAYS, living with restrictions, being denied rights. We have to talk about how when they were living gays, YOU put the gay first, well before you even considered them being American. We have to talk about how you want to obliterate the victims’ sexual identity so you can condemn one religion without betraying your own. When we talk about Orlando, we have to talk about the fact that these people were targeted because they were gay and this sort of “terrorism” is something those of us identifying as LGBTQ have been living with and experiencing for decades.

Love winsWhen we talk about Orlando, we have to talk about caring, about support, about empathy, about tolerance, about understanding, about hope, about revolution, about worth, about humanity, about equality, about justice, about freedom, about help, and most of all, about love.

Love is love.

Love wins.

 

Ways to help.

A Quick Thought on Love Winning

rainbowflagLast Friday marriage equality was declared law of the land and I am down with that. Not because I’m the marrying kind (thought if I do decide that I am the marrying kind and the kind I want to marry is a woman, then yes, I have a vested interest in this outcome in the future), but because I know that there are other people that are the marrying kind and I think they should have that civil right. I am all for it.

The reason I think I am so all for it and probably would be all for it even if I wasn’t a bisexual gal is because of my great-aunt and my childhood.

I have a great-aunt who is a lesbian and throughout my childhood she and her then-girlfriend were often present at family functions. These were happy occasions usually, filled with food and laughter and hugs. Wonderful, warm occurrences in my existence. Now, the children were never expressly told that my great-aunt was a lesbian (I was in my teens before I did that math and then got confirmation from my mother), but in my kid-brain I put her and her girlfriend together. They were always at the family functions together so in my head they were one entity, a team, a partnership. And I remember a lot of my cousins referring to them likewise.

The big thing about these family functions, though, was that even though it was not expressly stated to the children that my great-aunt was a lesbian, none of the adults treated her as anything but a beloved family member. She was never treated as an other or a less-than. She was never treated, at least in my memory, as a deviant or a disappointment. She was loved and respected and cherished and so was her girlfriend.

So to see people so dedicated to treating people like my great-aunt as other or less-than, to deny them a government contract that grants them a certain set of rights that are only granted to couples that enter into that contract, to see people that I share DNA with, my own blood, HER own blood, putting their religion and their adherence to a cherry-picked handbook above someone that they are told by that same handbook to love, is just fucking baffling to me. I don’t get it and I decided on Friday, once and for all, that I’m not going to get it and I don’t want to get it. I’m sorry you feel that way and I feel sorry for you because you feel that way. I’m sorry you choose self-righteousness and a promise of an afterlife by some super judgmental god over loving and protecting and relating to people in the here and now. But if that makes you happy (and considering how many folks are frothing at the mouth right now, it doesn’t seem to make them THAT  happy), then you do you.

But my great-aunt is not an other. She is not a less-than. I am not a less-than. That guy you don’t know marrying his partner of fifty years is not a less-than.

The way you cut your own humanity off like it’s some sort of defect, though, that’s pretty less-than.

Love wins.