13 June 2017

We are still here....

I debated fiercely with myself as to whether or not I should post about the anniversary of the tragedy that occurred a year ago yesterday at Orlando's Pulse nightclub.

But I have to.

Though I'm currently living in the panhandle of Florida, a year ago I was living in Orlando not too far from where the nightclub was located. Not near enough to hear what happened (or even the sirens as emergency personnel arrived on scene), but close enough to say, "Shit."

But more than that, it was my community.

I'm a lesbian, and while I have been lucky to not experience violence in my own life as a result of my sexual identity, when something like this happens anywhere in the world, we all feel it. Our hearts ache. We all cry.

We cry because we know it could have so, so easily have been us in the wrong place at the wrong time. We cry because in a tight-knit community like that, if you didn't lose someone, you know someone who lost someone. We cry because it is senseless violence. We cry because our government tells us we should be past this.

In June 2015, the Supreme Court told me that I am equal. That my marriage is equal.

In June 2016, a gunman told me that things don't change that quickly.

I still cry when I think about what happened. And in the weeks and months immediately following that day, when the entire city, state, nation, world was painted in rainbow pulses and we mourned together, I was reluctant to leave my home. I walked with greater awareness of my surroundings. I worried about what the future might bring for my family.

You can't help but think those things when it's your community.

And yet in these moments of memory and continued grief, I'm acutely aware of my privilege. I am a white, cis female who identifies as lesbian. I'm on the feminine end of the spectrum and can easily pass as straight. I don't raise eyebrows when I go into the women's room in a public place. I don't have to be afraid like so many of my brothers and sisters do.

But I am also aware that we are one community. When any of us is hurting, we are all hurting. It was out of this sense of community that we professed


We are one community. We are one pulse. We are one voice.

So the loudest of us (those with privilege, like me) must use that volume to give voice to those who don't have voices of their own. Or who are not in a position to use their voices. Or who need someone to hold their hands and say

You can pee next to me.

because society isn't quite where it should be yet.