Orlando: Grieving and Taking Action

Orlando.

I started out speechless. I think that’s what happens when our hearts beat faster than we can form syllables. When unspeakable pain grips our throats and tears drown out our voices. My speechlessness was the sound of too many feelings at once. Anger. Detachment. Sadness. Vulnerability. And loss. So much loss.

Today, out of necessity, or perhaps just tired fluency, words are taking form. Violence has yet again claimed precious LGBTQ lives. This time in a popular club filled with people doing all the right things to celebrate themselves. Dancing, laughing, looking for love. Connecting with their community on a night and in a place meant for them. This time almost 50 people dead. This is tragedy defined.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Support Stonewall in mobilizing resources. We began this work in the 1980s during a time of crisis, and we continue it now. We have launched a fund to support our community in Orlando, which will make grants to organizations in Florida serving those directly impacted. We are already in touch with leaders on the ground there who will help us in guiding money to where it is most needed.
Consider giving to the official Pulse Victims Fund, a GoFundMe campaign started by our friends at Equality Florida to get money directly to victims and their families, to cover both medical costs of survivors and funeral arrangements of those lost.
Visit WeAreOrlando.org for information on vigils and rallies, from Wyoming to Puerto Rico.

 

As we at Stonewall reflect and begin to take action, two thoughts are especially salient.
First, gun violence is an LGBTQ issue, and if we treat it as such, we can end it. Although they sweep our nation with devastating force, mass shootings are not hurricanes. They are, in fact, a most unnatural disaster. We cannot grow used to them or resign ourselves to simply be prepared. We need gun control now, nationwide. Eliminating bias-based violence has to also mean removing the tools people use to carry out their hatred.
Second, cultural work aimed at changing hearts and minds matters. Our community is at risk so long as even one person has easy access not only to an assault weapon, but also the message that we are disposable. Lesbian, gay, and bi. Trans and gender non-conforming. Black and brown. Immigrant. People living with HIV and those newly diagnosed. In poverty or behind bars. At the bookends of age. The expansive ‘we’ Stonewall exists to hold.
For many of us, the targets on our backs or our loved ones feel bigger than usual. And some of us live with this reality every single day. Wherever your experience places you on that spectrum, please know that Stonewall is here and will continue fighting like hell for your liberation from fear, discrimination, and the threat of violence.

 

In both mourning and resolve,
Jarrett Lucas
Executive Director