Features

On the Pulse shooting

Catie Byrne
Features Editor

I don’t want to write about the pulse shooting.

It hurts to write this. I am physically aching. My eyes are tired, I haven’t slept. I’ve been crying on and off for the past 48 hours. I’m crying right now. I’m fearing for my life, I’m fearing for my safety , I’m fearing for my girlfriend’s safety, I’m fearing for my friends and brothers and sisters and I’m fearing for the people in my community.

The violent homophobia reflected in the news has magnified our tragedies and our everyday experiences with homophobia, making things considerably worse. The news is profiting off of our pain, so here I am, extricating some of mine.

It’s hard to be gay and trans right now. This afternoon, I took a walk in my neighborhood and was tailed. Everywhere I go, I feel like I’m being watched; I can’t escape this homophobia. It’s outside, it’s inside, it’s online, and it’s even within our own community.

There is no safe space for LGBT people right now. Gay clubs, which have been the blood, sweat, and the backbones of our community since the Stonewall riots, are not safe. No place is sacred, and for many of us, there is no other place to turn. As this media shines a light on the dark reality of what it is to live in a state of hypervigilance, the more vulnerable factions of our community are terrified to exist.

Much of the media coverage regarding the pulse shooting is naively stumbling into the concepts of violent homophobia and transmisogyny that our communities have and will continue to experience when the cameras stop rolling.

Forty­nine, fifty­four injured — 49 bodies, 49 lives, 49 people, and 54 brutalized, traumatized — 54 had to watch members of their own community die. One of the bitter realities of the pulse shooting, is knowing that we can never simply

We cannot exist in spaces specifically designated for us; we cannot exist in spaces that were intentionally created in order to protect our own from violent homophobia and transmisogyny. We can’t even have one of the only spaces we’ve ever had. We are not safe in our own safe spaces.

Our allies, while well meaning, simply do not have the capacity to care in a meaningful way. Straight cisgender people don’t care about our struggle until they have to, or it is put in front of them.

The deaths at the Pulse gay club in Orlando Florida are a momentary disruption to their daily lives. They can look away; they don’t have to live this. They don’t want to. We are disposable. We are watching our own community die while the news spouts Islamaphobic propaganda and holds endless debates about gun laws. If our lives can be legislated away from their minds, they don’t care; and frankly, it’s traumatizing. We shouldn’t have to live in fear, but we are.

This fear is ever­present for the black and Latinx LGBT communities which dominate the gay club scene around the gay club, Pulse, in Orlando Florida. It was Latin night at Pulse the night of the shooting, and black and Latinx trans women were headlining a drag show. This is a heavily racialized hate crime. The black and brown

LGBT residents of Orlando Florida don’t get to just change the channel on the TV. They are living this tragedy, breathing in the pain and breathing out the blood. If this can happen at Pulse in Orlando Florida, this can happen at Chemistry or The Q Lounge in Greensboro, North Carolina.

One of the first things I heard about the Pulse club shooting was a firsthand account of the conditions in Orlando, Florida. A lesbian and Orlando Florida resident, told me, “It’s terrifying here. I’ve been to that club. It’s the best gay club in Florida. I don’t know which of my friends are dead.”

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