Queer people gathering in public is still a brave political act: the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting
[Image description: fairly ugly, high contrast photo of wildflowers at nighttime]
CN: death, violence, blood
The mass murder at Pulse nightclub in Orlando is not “tragic” or apolitical, it was state-enabled domestic terrorism targeting Latinx queers.
Last night at Pulse was a Latin night with a trans headlining act. 50 people who went are dead.
This was not an isolated incident; he was not a “lone wolf” with “mental health problems”. The whole country has been advocating violence, harassment, and dehumanization of queer people for decades. Queer and trans people are literally excluded from public life (bathrooms, blood donations, healthcare, ID documents); the state has made us into sub-citizens. An entire generation was killed by AIDS, trans women of color are murdered in the streets, and queer youth are killing themselves because the relentless bullying and social/familial ostracization is unbearable. We’re not afforded life.
Islamophobia and xenophobic imperialism is a weak response. Speculation about the shooter’s family’s immigration status is disgusting and irrelevant. That he was investigated by the FBI is not relevant—the FBI surveils practically everyone who’s brown and muslim in the US. What’s relevant is that he was able to get guns and kill 50+ people.
The line right now is that the shooter was “radicalized” and had “ties to ISIS”, but there is no evidence of either. The mayor has declared a state of emergency in the city of Orlando which will probably allow the state and police to act with impunity in their surveillance and violence toward US muslims.
UPDATE: The shooter (name not included because fuck granting him notoriety) worked at G4S: a private security company which bullies, detains, deports, and dehumanizes black and brown people, especially queer POC. He idolized the NYPD: a department which harasses and arrests trans women of color for “walking while trans”. His ex-wife has stated that he beat her. His “culture of violence” has nothing to do with his religion (which his father said not important to him) and everything to do with our racist, homophobic society. This shooter’s culture of violence is our culture of violence.
This is not apolitical. We don’t need prayers. It’s easy to say “how tragic” and “the first responders are heroes” but that’s not enough. We need gun control, and anti-racism and anti-queerphobia in our laws and society (but not hate-crime legislation which funnels marginalized people into the for-profit prison system). We need equal rights and access to public space. We need affirmative action. We need swift denouncement of violence and stigma against queer people and POC and immigrants and muslims.
Love never won. Transphobes are bombing bathrooms and queer people are murdered at nightclubs.
Hate has won.
If you’re in the Orlando area, PLEASE DONATE BLOOD:
Orlando West Michigan Donor Center, 345 W Michigan Street, Ste. 106, Orlando, FL 32806
Orlando Main Donor Center, 8669 Commodity Circle, Orlando, FL 32819
Oviedo Donor Center, 1954 W. State Road 426, Oviedo, FL 32765
Asbury United Methodist Church – Bloodmobile 220, West Horatio Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church – Bloodmobile, 4851 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32819
Metro Church – Bloodmobile, 1491 East State Road 434, Winter Springs, FL 32708
Note: there are conflicting reports about whether the FDA ban for “men who have sex with men” to donate blood has been lifted. It should go without saying that this ban is homophobic, discriminatory against HIV-pos bodies, and ofc it’s coercively assigned to trans women.