I was not going to write about the shooting last weekend in Orlando. I am about a cis white christian hetero-normative as I can be. I support LBGTQ friends & family, but this was not my community that was attacked – I do not want to speak from my position of amazing privilege and whine “oh, my thoughts and prayers.” I am (sadly) not in a position or place where I can make promises to prevent another Pulse. This attack it not about me, I should be silent & supportive.
And then I saw several posts from my LBGTQ loved ones with a similar message (this is an amalgamation/recreation of the sentiment I have seen, not a copy of any one person’s words):
I have always lived in fear. I knew my lifestyle was hated and feared. Over the past few years, that fear had faded; Supreme Court decisions, political candidates, rally & parades which celebrated myself and my loved ones.
And then the attach in Orlando happened. All those fears and threats which I grew up with came rushing back to me. The threat is now, instead of then. I will spend weeks, months – maybe years – mentally calculating my safety when I am in public.
I will still hug/kiss/hold hands with my significant other, but I will not be able to forget the threat to me and mine.
I wept when I read these posts. Because the threat they are talking about… the calculation of safety… I know that. Every story about a woman “randomly” (and it does happen) getting kidnapped, raped, killed… simply for being a woman. This may not be perfectly equivalent, but these words – spoken by so many strong people I love – made this attack about me too.
No, this attack is not about me. I can not express how grieved I am at the loss of life. But this attack is about making people vulnerable – and that… that is something I can commiserate with. My loved ones have been lashed raw. I sense their pain. Their rage. Their fear.
This is my fight because this is a fight against more than just one violent act of homophobic hyper-masculine or religious toxicity. This is a fight for America. This act was an attempt to suppress someone because they believed in a different god(s), because they look different, because they do not fit some stupid old mold. Whatever the reason – this attack, was an attack on the very fabrics of freedom which define this nation. And on that attack – that attack is on me too.
I will still stand supportive of my LBGTQ loved ones. First and foremost, I want their voices heard. But if I can help every other white cis hetero-normative christian woman understand that their pain is so similar to ours: call on me. I will be ready to jump beside you and fight. To recruit. I will speak to the freedom of walking a city street at night. The fear of catcalls which could turn violent. The terror of being followed. Until these attacks stop. Until we can address the vulnerability of our most vulnerable. This is my fight.
I have never forgotten the words: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40) and even the older call “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17) and if this does not constitute that call than I don’t even want to imagine what does.
I am with you. Not my thoughts. Not my prayers. Me.