Four years ago, at 2:02 am, Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Forty-nine people were beautifully queer and were in what, up until then, was a safe and sacred place.
I tell this story every year because I think it’s important to remember and honor the lives lost. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and checking Twitter. And then, feeling nauseous and panicked. I held my breath, like I’m doing now writing this. I watched update after update.
As a closeted person at the time, it didn’t feel like there was a physical space where I could publicly grieve. So, I grieved online with (mostly) complete strangers on Twitter. Many of those same strangers then are some of my closest friends now. ❤
Every year since, my body remembers this day as if I was there. PTSD is a strange and complicated thing. Like many queer folx, I feel the weight of this day but also remember how the queer community grieved together and held each other up.
Today, I’m not only out, but I’ve been married to my wife for a little over two years. Four years ago, I don’t think I could have fathomed the life I have now. Today I’ve also been on low dose testosterone for four months.
I wish I could say things were better and safer for queer folks today than it was four years ago. But just this week, more Black trans women were murdered. There’s still so much work to do.
For today, it’s enough to raise awareness that the fight is far from over. And for now, i’m going to keep breathing.