Since the Orlando massacre, I’ve been reposting everything that makes me feel empowered, that takes away some of my anger, and honestly helps me heal. The written word is a powerful thing that is able to take you away from our fucked up reality to find a community, even if it is with just the author, who felt/feels the same way as you do. And that is sometimes very important for survival when it seems like the world hates you.
With that being said, all of my social media posts have been public because I want the most amount of people to see my posts to not only help raise awareness of what happened and the atrocities of homophobia and transphobia, but so others who are hurting see that there are other people out there who are feeling this pain.
I’m here and I’m unapologetically queer. You are not alone. And I refuse to hide or to stay silent. Throughout my life the people around me including myself have experienced homophobia and transphobia in many different ways from poverty, depression, and assault. They’ve been disowned by their families and discriminated against. They’ve been homeless. They’ve been raped. They’ve died by suicide or tried to. And while no one I know personally was murdered in Orlando, I’ve known for many years that such a tragedy could happen to someone close to me or to myself easily at any moment. While I’m mostly numb to the fear that results from this violence against me and my community, I’m not numb to the loss and grief from the death all around me.
I used to let this fear control me. I was even mostly closeted when I studied abroad in South Africa because I was scared of being attacked for being gay. Corrective rape, where men will rape lesbians to try to cure them of homosexuality and which often leads to their murders, was a reality. Cities were safer, but the townships surrounding the cities were not. In fact a woman was murdered for being gay only an hour away from me. I joined other LGBTQ folks on campus along with allies for a candlelight vigil to remember her and I will never forget standing in a little circle outside in the light rain in silence wishing the world was a better place where such violence did not exist.
At the time her murder supported my reasons for being closeted. But when I returned home and finally felt like I could be myself, I realized how much of myself I silenced because I was scared. I loved my time abroad and the people I met (including my boyfriend Taf who knew about my sexual orientation) but it still hurt to not be able to be my true self.
So in the wake of what happened in Orlando I will continue to be loudly and publicly queer. It is part of my activism, but it is also something I need to do. I won’t let fear dictate my life. And I will do my best to be the voice for the people who are still scared to be themselves so one day you will be able to join me in being unapologetically queer.