For the sake of the children

When the news of the Pulse shooting struck, my instinctive reaction was to shut up, withdraw, and stop wanting to exist in this world. That’s the unhealthy coping mechanism I’ve had towards violence since I was a child and it’s always kept me safe. It’s always kept me safely contained and safely silenced too.

But this is not the world I grew up in, when I was young and frightened. In that world it would have been unthinkable to have Pride processions in which the police were there to defend you. The President wouldn’t have gone on the air to express sympathy for the victims – he would have been the one who ordered the night club to be raided in the first place.

It seems impossible to think it, in the light of the shooting, but the world has become a better place for queer people in the last twenty years. And maybe that’s why the shooter decided it was time to put people back where they belonged, to make them afraid so they would shut up.

I wasn’t even sure if I deserved to talk about this. After all, I’m not American, I’m not gay and I’m not Latin@. It’s not for me to talk over the voices of anyone that is. But this morning I was talking with JL Merrow about growing up genderqueer/agender and thinking “thank God we don’t live in the ’70s any more.” Then I read this article from The Washington Post and it reminded me that the reason we don’t live in the ’70s any more – the reason things are better now – is that people have been speaking out, coming out, campaigning, being seen and refusing to shut up and hide all that time.

I like the note of hope the Washington Post manages to raise there. I like this post too. I like the way it says

“So if recent events, whether a tragedy today, or bigotry tomorrow threatened to steal that spark of pride from you, continue creating an accepting world.”

I can’t speak with any authority, except for the authority that says to the bigots out there Murdering people is wrong. Fucking stop it! Hurting people is wrong, regardless of their orientation or sexual behaviour or race or gender or genitals or religion, or whatever. You think your God – a good God, a merciful God – would have wanted this? There are not words to say how fucking wrong you are.

But this is me speaking anyway, because my instinctive reaction is to be silenced, and I’m not having that any more.


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