For the Dead, For the Living…

I woke up to the worst single-shooter mass shooting in US history. (It was not the worst mass shooting, that would be Wounded Knee. Please don’t erase genocidal histories.) The Pulse shooting in Orlando was a hate crime. It targeted LGBTQA folks, the shooter was enraged by gay men kissing, and it was Latin Night. And it happened in Pride Month.

Poster. At the top on each side is an image of a trans woman of color. In the middle is the Pulse nightclub's logo, with the word pulse in black on white background in top center. Underneath is printed "Latin Night / Reggaeton, Bachata, Merengue, Salsa" with a sunburst pattern behind it. At the bottom is says "June 11th" in white on black background.
No erasure. Gay. Trans. People of color. This was the poster advertising for that night.

Part of my queer family of choice lives in Florida. Luckily they were safe.

Five years ago, we couldn’t know if a hospital would allow us to visit partners in the hospital. Now, so long as the hospital takes Medicare and Medicaid, queer folks are “allowed” to visit their partners. Basic rights and dignities are something we are “allowed”, something we fight for, and something we clearly die for. Because in the US, we have to fight for the right to live. 50 dead. 50 murders. More injured. This was a hate crime… during Pride.

Many of us cannot give blood. Though the federal guidelines in the US were changed last year, so that instead of a lifetime ban on any MSM (much though I hate that term) it’s only those who have had sex with other men in the last year cannot give blood. Anyone who has sex with MSM in the last year, regardless of gender, cannot give blood. A gunman targeted and slaughtered our community, and many of us cannot even give blood.

I don’t give a fuck if you think we should keep politics and religions separate, my Gods do NOT think so. Before I knew what was going on this morning, They pushed me to cover. I did it, thinking less than usual about head covering (which is bad) but since I started reading the news I realized why. Not the time to be picking up other people’s shit. And I’m not in a place where I can properly handle the feelings of my dead today. But tomorrow… well.

See, among my Gods is Lilith. She is a Goddess of queers and trans folks, of those persecuted, and most of all, mother of monsters. It doesn’t matter how many of Her children die, She fucking cares. It might not look like what you think it “should,” Lilith gives no fucks as to what anyone else thinks. But never doubt that She cares about the murder of Her’s.

Tomorrow, I happen to have the day off work. So, there will be wine. There will be food. There will be fire. There will be ritual. For those newly dead, for those in fear and anger, I will be doing ritual for guidance, for smoothing their paths, for transitions, and for anger.

For allies: Donate blood. If you have religious community, talk to your leaders. If you have religious friends, colleagues, family… make sure they know that spewing religious hatred of LGBTQA folks is what lead to this. This wasn’t a “lone gunman,” this was a society that targets “others” particularly queer folk, people of color, disabled folk, etc. Pagans and polytheists have plenty of this toxic shit in our communities too.

Society consistently blasts the messages of homophobia and transphobia. We fear that holding hands will get us killed. We fear that using the bathroom will get us killed. We fear assault and murder. We fear being out. We fear because we are taught that we are “…something offensive, something you would avoid, maybe even pity. Something that you could never love.”

Pulse was a “safe” place. I know people who almost went there last night to celebrate Pride.

For the dead: I see you, I honor you. Your lives, your anger, your fear, your many facets of being.

For the living LGBTQA: Stay safe. Take care of yourself.

Fuck your shame, fuck your hatred. This Pride will be a memorial, and more years than most, we march for those who cannot march. For fear, for danger, for death, not everyone can march. We march for the pride.

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