Today the clouds never parted in upper Michigan. All day a grey, eerie feeling hung in the air--
and the weather outside mirrored how I’ve been feeling. Yesterday’s events in Orlando are being churned through the 24 hour news cycle and the details are everywhere. The major news organizations have descended upon Orange Avenue and the names of the victims are being displayed online and on TV.
Different waves of emotions have washed over me since I heard the news yesterday morning. I am angry. I am sad. I am disappointed. I am frustrated. I am confused. I am growing cynical because I know that the gun laws are not going to change. I know that radical extremism won’t be tamed, and I know that the hatred the fuels homophobia and transphobia is alive and well in far too many people.
Most of these victims were in their 20s—just starting out in life. Just trying to figure out their next steps or lay down roots or navigate coming out. Out for a night at the bar. A night mirroring countless nights I’ve had in my life. And for these people, this seemingly ordinary night out ended up being filled with unimaginable terror.
LGBT rights have become the focal point of the struggle for civil rights in the 21st century. We have seen marriage equality become the law of the land in all 50 states. We have witnessed the Obama administration stand up for the rights of trans students. We have seen LGBT people elected to public office at local, state, and national levels. And each of these victories has ignited more hatred on the far right—inspired more vitriol in those who are convinced that we are sick and wrong.
And what do we do? How do we continue to walk through the world knowing that, at some level, we’re increasingly less safe as queer folks? How do we continue to fight in the face of a deck rigged against us?