I wrote the following statement for my organization, and I feel compelled, given the gravity of what occurred in Orlando, to repost it here.
[CW - homophobia, transphobia, racism]
In going about writing a statement after the attack in Orlando, Florida on June 11, I realized quickly I didn't know what words to say; there's really no way to describe the horror of what occurred.
Throughout years of doing queer activism, I've seen a tremendous amount of bigotry. I've seen it in the passing of transphobic bills such as HB-2 in North Carolina, the senseless murders of trans women of color, and the bullying queer and trans teens continue to endure in schools across the country.
Time and time again, I've also see the queer and trans community respond with tremendous courage, strength, and pride. One of the things that makes gay bars like Pulse so sacred is their ability to provide a safe haven when the rest of the world simply isn't a safe place to live openly. So to have someone try to destroy us from the inside out because of hatred — because of homophobia, transphobia, and racism — feels shattering beyond what newspaper headlines can ever convey.
My heart goes out to everyone who lost a loved one in the horrific attack, the 53 who were injured, and every queer and trans person whose sense of safety was shaken.
Still, I'm given hope by the incredible sense of togetherness in the queer and trans community that remains in the wake of this attack: the queer and trans people who fought to donate blood in Orlando despite an outdated ban on blood donations from gay men and trans women, the thousands who participated in vigils across the world and marched in Los Angeles's pride parade in solidarity, the queer and trans activists who called out the Islamophobic rhetoric that emerged from news coverage of the attack, and everyone's overwhelming concern for the safety and well-being of queer and trans friends and family members.
As I said earlier in this statement, in spite of homophobia and transphobia, I've time and time again seen the queer and trans community respond with tremendous courage, strength, and pride. No matter what those filled with hate would like to think about how what unfolded will impact our community, this will not break us. We are courageous, we are strong, and we are proud of who we are. Hate will not break our love for ourselves, and just as importantly, our love for each other.
In love and solidarity,