The mass shooting at a gay bar in Colorado Springs this week arouses within me a kind of uneasiness—the kind that never really goes away, but lingers always beneath the surface. It is an uneasiness that we, as individuals within one or more minority groups organized by a cobbled-together set of letters, are never really ever safe. And by “we” I mean myself to an extent, but really I mean the most vulnerable among us.
Trans people. Black and brown queer people. Drag artists. Queer youth.
On any given day, my husband and I feel so much love around us yet this murderous act jars me not gently back to the reality that just outside the circle of authentic solidarity, queer people are at great risk—not at all protected by the anemia of ‘tolerance’ or even social progress which has actually put us more at risk. Further, apathy—both within and outside our community—remains the chink in our glittered armor; lulled into the stupor of complacency causes us to think our work is done as long as we have reached a certain level of safety. (I admit that I have become comfortable and satisfied with a level of progress and safety I enjoy.)
And the conflation of religious liberty and freedom of speech have emboldened some to go beyond faux tolerance or veiled threats into full-blown entitlement to harm not just our spirits and minds—but our very bodies.
I must tell admit that for me, this uneasiness—this dis-ease—eats away at my soul, little by little. Persistent dis-ease disables many of us completely, draining our people of any sense of peace and robbing us of the hope for the
advent of an equitable experience of thriving.
I try to dwell always in hope, but right now I don’t know what to do with my dis-ease.
I’m sick and tired of our people being killed and our sanctuaries being violated. Of going to vigils where the most grieved and most targeted gather to mourn their dead surrounded by a pittance of allies who apparently aren’t affected enough to show up. Of young queer kids trying to come into themselves amid such abuse from their peers and families of origin and from the negligence of the adults around them. Of the rights of a well regulated militia prioritized over the bodies of school children. Of men trying to regulate the bodies of people with uteruses.
As I struggle with this dis-ease, I am wondering where the privileged people are.
The white, cisgender gays—where are they?
Where are the brunching gays?
The gays who got their legal marriages and headed back to the ’burbs?
The heterosexual people of faith—where are they?
Where are the people who say they support me but in the voting booth choose their stock portfolio over my humanity?
Because here’s the deal:
We’re out here being targeted—with impunity!
Social media is flooded with vile messages, denigrating our humanity and threatening violence against us.
Politicians are after us, attempting to mischaracterize us with vile lies about bathroom safety, story hours, and grooming.
And we are being killed, left and right.
And I am sick of feeling like this and knowing that my queer kin never, ever get a break from feeling this dis-ease. They are killing us with one tweet, one piece of hateful legislation, one assault rifle at a time.
I am a community builder. A peace-maker. But right now…
Right now, I don’t know where to throw my brick.