Orlando. Another marker in a seemingly interminable list of places that bears the wounds and memories of hate violence and incomprehensible tragedy: Aurora. Oak Creek. Sandy Hook. Boston. San Bernadino. Charleston (a year ago on June 17th). Wounds that reopen, personally and publicly, every time another city’s name is added to the list. Wounds that remind us of the inability of lawmakers to put into practice the solutions and policies that would end this cycle of injury and death, which should never become mundane, expected, or normalized.
The horrific attacks in Orlando took 49 lives – almost all LGBTQ Latinx people – away from their life journeys, away from their loved ones. Another physical space where people gather has been added to the growing number of places where violence can erupt: classrooms, places of worship, movie theaters, night clubs.
The contrasts, contradictions, and connections that converged in Orlando are overwhelming.
Race and gender identity; immigration status and sexual orientation. Latinx and Muslim. Homophobia and Islamophobia. Gun and hate violence. Gay Pride and Ramadan. The war on terror and the war on gay rights. The revelations of the shooter’s motivations and affiliations.
As the days go on, the questions that arise after every act of gun and hate violence will continue to stay in our midst. But the complexity of what happened in Orlando demands that our questions and efforts are even more nuanced and responsive.
How can advocates ensure that communities affected by the Orlando massacre are not demonized? How will our own communities recognize, acknowledge, center and make space for complex and nuanced identities to be seen and heard? Will cross-community solidarity on paper translate into solidarity in struggle, especially as calls for increased surveillance policies that arbitrarily target Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities continue, and as rights of queer and trans community members are not secure from the bathroom to the streets to the workplace? How will governmental authorities protect communities already on the receiving end of threats of backlash? Will law enforcement agencies use smart intelligence tactics to identify threats to public safety rather than profiling, investigating and mapping communities simply based on national origin and religion?
In response to many of these questions and others, the words of those who identify as Latinx, Muslim and LGBTQ have provided solace, inspiration and guidance. To those who are writing, speaking out, and mobilizing in the midst of grief and pain, and despite worries about your own personal safety: your words and actions are radical acts of resistance that help all of us stand up to fear and backlash. We are with you.
Below is a shortlist of articles and videos that center LGTBQ people of color (please add more in the comments). For information including counseling support, places to donate, and organizational statements, please share this tremendous resource list from the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA). Please support the work of organizations such as the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) and the groups within the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA).
*Say Their Names:
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
*From Black Lives Matter: In Honor of Our Dead, Queer, Trans, Muslim, Black – We Will Be Free.
*Rejecting Islamophobia as a Queer Latina in the Wake of the Orlando Shooting by Delma Catalina Limones
*Queer Muslims Confront Intersectional Challenges, featuring members of MASGD, USA Today
*Gay Pride, Ramadan, and Solidarity After Orlando by Muneer Ahmad in The Nation
*Post-Pulse Massacre, Moving Forward Means Rejecting Scarcity and Fear by Yas Ahmed in Colorlines
*When the One Place That Feels Like Home Has Been Invaded by Miriam Zoila Perez in Colorlines
*Please Don’t Stop the Music by Richard Kim in The Nation
*Why We Will Keep Dancing by Ignatius Bau