Orlando: We’re Here, We’re Queer and We Will Not Live in Fear

I haven’t posted here about Orlando because a) I’ve been too gutted about the whole thing, a major attack on my community and b) it’s mostly been reposting what has been posted before. You’ll probably find that Jim Jefferies piece that is still going viral, surprised the Charlie Brooker piece hasn’t popped up yet (but great that the victims are being memorialised, mourned and celebrated rather than the shooter), you’ll find several posts about this. Again and again…maybe everyone in the USA should be like Igor Volsky and shame all the representatives that are offering ‘thoughts and prayers’ that have their snouts in the NRA trough (really, leave God out of this, he’s done enough damage to the LGBTQ community as is!).

So if we’ve been there so often, why doesn’t Obama/Hillary/those ‘libtard Democrats’ (as the NRA right-wingers call them) do anything about gun control? Well – he answered that 10 days before the Orlando attack in the video above – it’s the NRA and rabid 2nd Amendment nuts opposing any change. The NRA would rather have dead kids, dead club goers, dead people in schools, restaurants, workplaces and churches than enact even sensible gun laws that would restrict access to weapons for people who are known ISIL supporters! It’s crazy…and the US would need to go a lot further to get anything like the level of lack of gun crime here in Europe than a few laws tacked on, or a limited restriction like the one on assault rifles which didn’t go far enough. The US needs to be like Australia, mandatory buy back of the guns, banning automatic and semi-automatic weapons (because why would citizens even NEED assault weapons – what are they expecting, the Zombie hordes? You don’t need those for protection – and as Jim Jefferies said in that famous skit – you do know you are bringing guns to a drone fight?!) before any real major change happens in the gun death statistics.

Also it’s no surprise that the shooter was a closet queen; homophobes are usually conflicted closet cases who hate their own desires. But let’s make it all about terrorism, about Islam, and ignore the fact that just as many people are killed weekly across the world in LGBTQ hate crimes, probably more in individual attacks. But sadly, that’s the narrative that the mainstream media insists on, it’s easier to ‘other’ him than accept that we face this every day, from our own kind as much as anyone brown or Muslim (in my case, it’s actually all white and probably Xtian).

But the important thing is to celebrate and mourn the people who died (like in the moving vigil in London), protect the LGBTQ community, friends, partners and family and stand with them. And then hopefully change these laws, although I’m not hopeful. Things like #twomenkissing and #twowomenkissing (yes I joined in!) are great though, pushing forward love in the face of hate. But as friends have responded to those who ask why we as a community are so upset when ‘you didn’t know those in the club’ – we face this every day, every kiss, every hand hold, every hug we have to fight for. We check ourselves and our environment before we do it, we have to. We know that the next moment can bring assault or even death to us for doing so.

So of course this is more than just another active shooter attack to us, more than a horrible terrorist attack…it’s an attack on our whole community, an attack on our way of life, striking at one of the spaces we go to where we can be free and do those things without censure and without violence. That’s why it’s a hate crime.

And that’s why facing up to it with humour and love, not hate and fear is so important. As the chant in London went: We’re Here, We’re Queer, We WILL not live in fear. And my avatar on Facebook is this quote from Harvey Milk, who of course was gunned down in a homophobic hate crime:

“If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet shatter every closet door”

Harvey Milk quote

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