Aftershocks: does it get better?

It’s been a little over a week since the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Most everyone seems to be getting back to “normal,” but for the families of the victims and those in the LGBT community and more specifically the Latinx community are still grieving. And, I don’t think we can go back to normal after this. I’m still crying myself to sleep most nights since the shooting, and going through the motions of everyday life. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the families. I know…a lot of people much more articulate and qualified have written about this than I am. But writing is how I express what I’m feeling, and I have to get this out somehow instead of leaving it pent up inside me until I explode.

What’s worse, though, is Christians trying to save face by saying they’re “praying” for Orlando. The hate is still there in how LGBTQ+ people are treated every day of their lives, so I guess I didn’t expect this to change that. But I had hoped it would. I had hoped they would see us as human beings now. I still believe that love is stronger than hate. I really do, but right now, everything seems dark. I keep looking for hope and light in the darkness. But right now…not right now. Now we grieve. And we don’t let anyone tell us not to because the victims of this tragedy somehow “deserved” it because they were gay. I refuse to accept anything less than affirmation of LGBTQ+ people as human beings worthy of respect, dignity, and love.

It’s really tough to sit through a church service with people who wouldn’t kill you themselves, but who basically want you and those like you dead. They said that we deserve this. That we somehow bring the bullying, violence, and shame on ourselves. They deny basic human rights time and time again. But oh, they LOVE us sooo much, and want us to “repent and come to Jesus.”

I’m sorry, but if you have to clarify your statement that you wouldn’t want me dead, but you express the same hateful rhetoric as those who do…you are no better than the killer. If you wouldn’t call me a Sodomite, faggot, abomination, etc to my face, you probably already have. You just didn’t know you were talking about me. You wouldn’t harm us yourselves, but you don’t do anything to stop those who do.

There are skeletons in your closet; there’s blood on your hands. You tell me you wouldn’t kill us. But you only mean that you wouldn’t do it yourself. You let someone else pull the trigger. Your conscience isn’t clear just because you prayed. Oh, you’ll pray for people when they died. And by then…you’re too late.

What did we ever do to you to deserve such hate? What did we do other than exist and be different? But…ya know, I’m the one who needs to repent?

So, now more than ever…our eyes shift nervously in a crowded room, scanning for where the exits are, looking for potential threats to our safety. I wish I could say that this was irrational, or just paranoia–that it’s unnecessary. That there was no threat to our safety. But there is. I can scarcely go out in public without thinking about whether I’ll be safe or not. Nowhere seems safe anymore.

Bullets ripped through bodies

That didn’t deserve to die.

But people keep saying that God’s judgment is the reason why.

All they can say is that they deserved to die.

And heaven forbid, that we should cry

For those who are worthy of death.

Bullets ripped through bodies

And just because they were gay

This is all you have to say

Would that we lived in a better world

Where people aren’t hated for who they love

This wasn’t the world you were given

But it’s the world you deserved

Bullets ripped through your bodies

And our world already shattered continued to come undone

As the Christians who claimed to love you

Blamed your lifestyle instead of their hatred for your deaths

Hatred is what killed you, make no mistake. It wasn’t your fault. Your lives were all beautiful, wonderful, amazing. And over too soon.

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