strong words

mist rising on phantom lake

In the last week, many people have come together to protest the culture of hate and fear in our country, a culture fed and fired up by the NRA, a culture given a focus and a pulpit with the orange one’s candidacy.

As promised yesterday, here is some of the best writing I’ve seen this week.

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From Milo Todd at Everyday Feminism, 8 Ways Allies Can Show Up for the Queer Community After Orlando

But we’ve been dying long before this and likely will continue to do so – especially my siblings of color, like the Latinx population of which were the showcase at Pulse that night.

But the violence has always been around us; it’s just usually shoved into silence by those in power. 40% of homeless kids are LGBTQIA+ because their families either kick them out or abuse the hell out of them. A transgender person – usually a trans woman of color – is murdered every 29 hours.

From Pam Mandel of Nerd’s Eye View, My Rainbow Connection

But hey, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, Indiana, state governments all made news this year for legislating to protect those that discriminate against LGBT humans. We’ll never be able to make discrimination disappear entirely, but could we maybe not pass laws that support this behavior? We invoke the Second Amendment to justify our obsession with guns (though this militia does not appear to be well regulated) but we do not apply the same zeal to the Civil Rights Act.

From Damon Young, Very Smart Brothas, Ironic Homophobia is Still Homophobia

As thoughts about and images from the tragedy in Orlando continue to sadden and anger us, remember that Omar Mateen’s homophobia-fueled hate didn’t exist in a vacuum and wasn’t created in an isolated silo.

It’s one of the many tragic culminations of what happens when non-heterosexual sexual acts between consenting adults are still considered (by many) to be deviant, when words like “gay” and “queer” are regularly used as perjoratives, and when we weaponize Christianity as an agent of kind-hearted hate; using it as both a conduit and an excuse for unmitigated bigotry.

From Mey (and contributors), Autostraddle, Queer Latinxs Share Love, Rage, Sadness and Strength for Our Family Lost in Orlando

How are we supposed to find safety and freedom when we can’t even dance to our own music in our own building with our own people? How are we supposed to mourn our family when Congressmen go on TV and say “this probably has nothing to do with it being an LGBT bar” and pundits don’t even mention that it was Latinx night in their 8 hours of coverage? How are we supposed to heal? How are we supposed to heal? How are we supposed to heal?

From Libba Bray, YA author, A Madness Dipped in Grief

To borrow from Lionel Shriver, America: WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE GUNS. Now. Yes, right now. Not after the next batch of funerals. Or the next. Or the ones that follow that one. What will it take for us to give up our insane idea that guns keep us safe? That every citizen has the right to keep his or her own personal arsenal? That our Founding-Father porn video of paranoid entitlement financed by the NRA is beyond reproach or a rethink?

From Chuck Wendig, Terrible Minds, Recipe for a Shooting

Politicians seize on this, too. They enact legislation that never says, but always reminds, that the men — the white men, the straight men — are so very special. We bake the identification of our enemies into our laws, and we braid in that old-timey religion to make sure that it’s all sweetened by the sanctity of a divinely-driven message. We say, these bathrooms are for you and not for anybody else. We say, this marriage is for you and not for anybody else. This job. These benefits. This life. It’s all for you, Damien, all for you. God says it. Our laws say it. And that document made of God and Man, the Constitution, says it, too. (Never mind the fact that the Constitution is just a piece of paper written by men of dubious religiousness who meant for our laws to be ever-amendable and totally elastic — that narrative must change, for you are a young man living in a country blessed by the Man God, and so that means the Constitution is as iron-clad as the Bible itself, as long as you don’t mind sanding down the rough and disagreeable parts for your own convenience.)

We have to do better. We have to find the will to make a shift. We have to contact all of our government representatives and remind them that they represent us and tell them in clear terms what we want. We must elect at all levels of government the candidates who will remember who they represent. And we must take away the power of corporations and political lobbies that circumvent the will of the people at the highest levels of government.

At the personal level, we must examine our own biases and beliefs. We must call out the behaviour – with family, friends, colleagues, co-workers – that supports and promotes this environment where -isms and -phobias flourish.

Years ago, Jay Smooth put together an excellent video (link here or watch below) to help people learn and practice how to call out racist behaviour. With some substitution, we can use these skills to call out homophobic, xenophobic, and nativist behaviour.

It might feel uncomfortable – unsafe, even – to call out shitty behaviour when it happens around us.  Here’s the reality: none of us are safe in the current environment. Not in movie theatres, not in churches. Not on university campuses, not in dance clubs. Not in elementary schools.

Enough.

Enough.

ENOUGH.

 

 

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