“There was every reason that we would have been at Pulse that night”

Content Notice: Zinnia mentions some of the more morally bankrupt virulently transphobic comments she received, and they are nasty. She is also discussing the shooting in Orlando, Florida, where 49 Queers, mostly Latinx, were murdered.

Zinnia Jones recently shared a post about how she was planning to attend Pulse the night of the Orlando shooting, and only decided otherwise because of sheer dumb luck.

I wanted to share it, in part because I’ve experienced clueless cishets in my life who didn’t understand why Queers were so viscerally affected even if they lived on the other side of the world. Hopefully this helps them understand.

The next day, I accompanied Heather as she went downtown on writing assignments fromPlayboy and The Daily Beast. This is just what she and I do: when these things happen in our lives, we cover them for the world. We attended the vigil in a park surrounded by skyscrapers – helicopters circled overheard and we could clearly see a number of police snipers positioned on rooftops. We later attended a funeral service and listened to a man who was at Pulse break down sobbing as he eulogized his mother, who had helped him get to safety before she was killed. Everyone Heather spoke with had either lost someone at Pulse, or knew someone else who did. This is what those outside the queer community might not understand: we have only 2 or 3 degrees of separation. This was so imminent, so present, there was no way to turn away from it.

I want to point out that throughout this, there was no cessation in the constant stream of YouTube comments and tweets telling me that who I am is wrong, or that I’m in the grips of some sort of delusional illness, or that I’m somehow a threat to society. Instead, many more people now made sure to wish that I had been at Pulse that night.

I’d like them to know that I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone. No one should have to feel what it’s like to wait out the seconds as you refresh a web page, knowing that you might be about to find out your friends are dead. No one should have to wake up crying from nightmares so close to reality that you can’t dismiss them as absurd. No one should have to bear the brutal knowledge that they are a target.

There are people in this country right now with the motivation to follow through on killing me and Heather and Penny, on slaughtering my community by the dozens. I look for the exits everywhere we go, whether it’s a club, a theater, or even a bookstore. I think about where we would take cover, and tell Heather and Penny that if anything happens, they need to run and not wait for me. I shouldn’t have to do this – I don’t want to be doing this. I don’t want to have to think of what they would do without me or what I would do without them, every day, everywhere I go. But I can’t wake up from this, because this is my reality.

“But I can’t wake up from this, because this is my reality.”

I fumble for words to describe this feeling. Nothing quite adequately captures it. “Rest in power” seems so vulgar, so inadequate, so incomplete, to truly capture the myriad of problems that led to this. And still, we cannot be left in silence to mourn and contemplate. Our grief is merely a political football for others to use as they see fit. Never valid on its own unless it justifies further acts of violence.


#ISISClaims: The socks that go missing from your washing machine

Literally everything awful in the world is claimed by ISIS, even when intelligence groups release reports stating that no communications occurred between the perpetrator(s) and the so-called Islamic State. ISIS has claimed responsibility for a few attacks where the connections were ideological at best, and people have started to notice. Compounded by the ridiculousness of ISIS claiming responsibility for the Eiffel Tower fire–which was caused by malfunctioning fireworks–the French started #DaeshRevendique, or #IsisClaims.

Trending on Twitter:

#DaeshRevendique les chaussettes qui disparaissent de la machine à laver

“ISIS claims responsibility for socks that go missing from the washing machine”

notre défaite à l’Euro

“ISIS claims our defeat in the Euro”

Perhaps my favourite:

Let’s not forget our critical thinking skills please.


Signal boosting: Queers affected by Orlando

Jacqui Germain writes, “Defining safety for all queer people in the wake of Orlando:” (emphasis mine)

Last weekend’s shooting happened on Pulse Nightclub’s Latinx-themed night, advertised with a flyer that featured two Trans Latina women on the front. As a montage of faces began spreading across social media in an effort to uplift and memorialize the deceased, it quickly became clear that the 50 shooting victims were overwhelmingly brown-skinned queer people. This fact isn’t a case of happenstance; the specificity of the violence suggests a specificity in its impact, and that impact calls for intentionality in response. It is crucial that we center marginalized people in conversations around how we can work to make this world safe for queer folks. This wasn’t a coincidence: brown queer and Trans people have experienced years of targeted, lethal violence that contextualizes the massacre in Orlando within decades and centuries of homophobia, transphobia and racism.

The “and racism” is still the mountain that many white queer folks would prefer to simply walk around rather than traverse. To most people, homophobia is readily apparent in the events in Orlando. But the racism? Not so much. White supremacy is still a thing that white-dominated spaces—whether they’re queer or not—struggle to sufficiently address and actively resist. And mainstream queer America is, certainly, overwhelmingly white.

I naively hoped passive-aggressive Facebook comments would be their mainstay until I heard back from friends about the racism they witnessed at various vigils for the victims. I’ll put it this way: more than one friend used the word “homonationalism,” a term meant to describe the way the mainstream gay community tends to position itself comfortably within a nationalist identity. Rather than being at odds with American patriotism and nationalism – which in many ways perpetuates violence against marginalized communities here and abroad – the mainstream gay community too often directly participates in American nationalism in an effort to prove that they deserve access to the rights and freedoms of citizenship.

Reina Gattuso writes, “No Islamophobia in the name of Queers

When I first heard on Sunday morning that fifty people had been killed by a gunman at Latin night in an Orlando gay club, Rick Scott’s voice played over my grief. And over, and over: “This is an attack on our people” said the recording, playing on a loop. “An attack on all of us.”

Our peopleAmericansUs.

Beneath my shock was rage: Since when has Rick Scott thought of queers as part of “us”? 

It is a collective rage.

Violence at this scope is mind-numbing in its enormity, and brings with it the need for a suspended animation, the need for time and space to realize — if it can be realized — the beauty of human life and the terror of its loss. But in the United States, in a state of war that seems interminable and that breeds a systemic devaluing of both queer and Muslim life, the grief of violence is trailed by an anxiety that blossoms the moment we hear the gunman’s name. When Trump gets onstage and calls again for the banning of Muslim immigration into the U.S., the fear swells: One minority’s lives will be weaponized against another.

It is very easy, and very tempting, for white queers, rich queers, queers whose gender presentations are still relatively normative, non-Muslim queers, to use our privileges to alleviate some of our marginality.There has been a great deal of academic work in recent years on the way in which non-Muslim queers have exploited an Islamophobic and militaristic nationalism to encourage our assimilation into mainstream society. As with discourse about women’s rights, LGBT rights have been exploited as yet another reason for war in the Middle East.

To Donald Trump and Rick Scott, to anyone who believes that American assault weapons do not belong in Florida but do belong in Palestine, to anyone who uses queer grief to keep refugees out and Muslims in fear, to anyone who uses queer lives to wage war: We are not yours.

Cassie Da Costa writes, “In the Face of Homophobia and Islamophobia, Queer touch persists:”

Not only have I courted my own silence, but felt trapped in it. In the days following the mass shooting at Pulse, we’ve been reminded that we live in society that questions if a black and/or Latinx and/or Muslim person can be queer. This is a society that has no imagination for brown and black skin, one that lacks the capacity to map a history of touch that is past, present, and future, one that cannot truly conceive of a black or brown body as sensuous and vulnerable, but only as violent or as a product of violence.

Furthermore, the convergence of homophobia and Islamophobia that has been facilitated not only by major media but also by both presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, not only tries to deny queer Muslim identity but tries to deny solidarity between non-Muslim POC and Muslims who have been working together to fight against homophobia, transphobia, and racism. It positions bodies that would find pleasure, comfort, and power in each other as possible dangers to each other, pits black and brown and queer bodies against each other in the name of some elusive, untrue American solidarity. (As I write this, I’ve just become aware of a wonderful piece by Raillan Brooks at the Village Voice, on being queer and Muslim in America, especially now in the wake of the Orlando attacks.)

Man, they are slaying hard at feministing.


What do the Cologne rapes and the Pulse shooting have in common?

Y’all didn’t have a single iota of fucks to give about violence against minorities until you could blame a Muslim for it.

Content Notice: Mentions of suicide, a description of the murder scene, plus the stuff that is probably apparent given the title of the article.

I speak, of course, of a very particular tract in this conversation, which means if this doesn’t sound like you, then this post isn’t directed at you. If you want an even hand, a level contribution to the discussion, go here or here. I’m sure there are other very reasonable arguments being made, but I need you to understand one thing:

Orlando was a message, and I am among its recipients.

This is not something I can cover without breaking into tears. This is not something I can cover without being reminded why high bridges and the edges of knives look so attractive. This is not something I can cover without picturing my family, my chosen family, on the floor of that nightclub, their phones ringing in their own blood while I’m frantically calling them. This is not something I can cover without thinking about all the stupid snapchats and videos and pictures they send me, knowing that in different circumstances it could have been footage of the last seconds of their life.

This is not an issue I have the benefit of distance from. I can’t lounge around in a chair and pontificate from the pipe in my hands.

A lot of people are jumping into this conversation. And it’s bad enough that I can’t simply mourn this attack on my community, it’s bad enough that I can’t even be angry at who I want without cishets shouting at me and telling me how I should be outraged, it’s bad enough that my Queer Latinx brothers and sisters witness this crime be literally whitewashed, I have to find that my attempts to seek out solidarity, are met with people who have never shown any inclination for giving a single fuck about anti-queer violence until it was a brown man who pulled the trigger.

This is shady as fuck. I see you, crawling out of the woodwork.

Where the fuck was your outrage, when trans women were dying in the streets at the hands of cis men?

Where the fuck was your outrage, when the pressures placed upon us claimed a body count that was nearly a coin flip?

Where the fuck was your outrage, when Queers were offing themselves because they had been told, over and over, by Christians and Muslims and Atheists alike, that their lives were disgusting and unimportant?

Where the fuck was your outrage, when North Carolina stripped Queer Americans of their rights?

Were you at the vigils?


The Edmonton vigil for Orlando

The Edmonton vigil for Orlando


Source: wiki commons



Were you at the protests?


Also the Edmonton vigil.


Source: static DNA India

The parades?

Source: Edmonton 2016 Pride festival, edmontontourism.

Source: Edmonton 2016 Pride festival, edmontontourism.

The fucking memorials??

Source: Times of Israel



Where the fuck have you been?

I don’t believe for a moment that you give a shit about Queer people except for our utility in being the foundation of your hate. When you’re absent from everything to do with us, when you’re ignorant of the violence we face from every organized religion and then more outside it, nearly every culture on this fucking planet, you can’t suddenly claim to give a shit about Queer deaths. I could paint my walls with the mugshots of every person who has murdered one of mine, and yes, there would be brown folks up there, black folks up there, Asian folks up there, and a whole lot of fucking white folks up there too.

But you are silent, absent, until now. Because the shooter claims membership to the Almighty Boogeyman of your fragile fucking psyche, has a brown name and brown skin, and is nominally a Muslim.

Islam is used to justify homophobia. Christianity is used to justify homophobia. Judaism is used to justify homophobia. Pseudoscience is used to justify homophobia. Racism is used to justify homophobia. Sexism is used to justify homophobia. DO YOU THINK I FUCKING CARE WHY SOMEONE SHOOTS ME?

Don’t you fucking tell me who I should be afraid of, that I ought to spurn the Queer Muslims holding my hand at the vigil, that the Christians offering prayers condemning hate and violence ought to be shunned, that the First Nations howling their grief in Cree as they appeal to someone or something I’ve never been introduced to are not my allies, because they believe in something impossible. They were there. You weren’t. Their tears were as real as mine. They may believe in fairy tales but at the end of the day, they were still fucking there, they’ve always been there, and they will continue to be there.

I know exactly who to watch.

After all, he was a gun-toting, queer-hating, hypermasculine, wife-beating, aspiring cop who shared fantasies about killing people. He’s your fucking poster boy.



50 murdered in gay night club during domestic terrorist shooting

The night of June 11th now marks the worst mass shooting in US history, as 50 were murdered and another 53 injured in a domestic terror incident at a gay night club:

A gunman opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 50 people and injuring dozens more in a rampage that was the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history.

Authorities in Orlando said Sunday that the siege at Pulse, a popular gay bar and dance club, was quickly deemed an act of domestic terrorism. In addition to the 50 people killed, another 53 were injured, officials said.

Police had said earlier Sunday that 20 people were killed before saying that the toll was significantly higher. Until Sunday, the 2007 rampage at Virginia Tech — which saw 32 people killed and 30 others injured — was the country’s worst mass shooting.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said that the toll from this latest mass slaughter could have been even greater, saying that a SWAT team “rescued at least 30 possible victims and brought them to safety.”

The gunman was killed by police officers in a shootout after the rampage, authorities said. It was not immediately clear if the death toll included the gunman.

While police have not publicly identified the gunman, law enforcement officials and relatives on Sunday identified him as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old from Fort Pierce, Fla.

“We’re dealing with something we never imagined and is unimaginable,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (D) said during a news briefing Sunday.

Dyer said he had issued a state of emergency in the city and asked Gov. Rick Scott(R) to issue a similar order for the state. Scott said he was traveling to Orlando to meet with officials there.

Police have not identified a possible motive, and details about Mateen’s background were scarce on Sunday morning.

The article goes on to describe a text message exchange with one of the victims and their mother shortly before their murder.

My thoughts go out to the victims and their families. A crime, a chilling message sent straight home to all of us, so soon after my local city celebrated Pride. My rainbows are back on today.

Comments policy for this: We focus on the victims and the families. We can talk politics and the shooter’s motivations on the next post.


Edit: It has also been brought to my attention that last night was the gay Latinx night.