Posted on 13-06-2016
Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail. Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Years ago I was watching an episode of Queer of Folk on DVD. The episode depicted the main characters at their favorite haunt, Babylon, surrounded by people dancing, drinking, and celebrating life. In the next scene, a concealed bomb goes off, shattering the night and filling it with screams of terror and cries of pain. I remember watching this and thinking to myself “What maniac would ever want to do this in real life?”
I’m reminded of this episode as I read about the chaos that took place at the Pulse club in Orlando. I picture the 50 people who went out for just another great night who now lie motionless on the floor or on stretchers. I think about the 53 other people who were rushed to hospital in the early hours of the morning, wondering if they will live to see the next day. I watch politicians make sweeping statements about gun control and hate crimes yet have no real idea what any of their words mean. I cry over screenshots of text messages from terrified people to their parents as they cower in bathrooms while gunshots ring out. I break down over friends tweeting photos of people that they’ve lost, knowing that no amount of words can fill the void they now feel.
I am furious at media outlets who were first to cover the story but conveniently left out the fact that this was an attack against the queer community. Gay clubs are one of the few ‘safe’ spaces for queer people to frequent – the fact that something like this happened proves that even the places we think are safe are still prone to fits of madness from people who will not be reasoned with. One of the first and loudest cries were for stronger gun control laws in the U.S, but that’s just a pipe dream. There are so many senseless shootings that happen in the U.S, and no one seems to be giving a shit about changing anything. You want to keep your fucking guns? You can do that if it’s your right or whatever you want to call it, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD can you make it harder for people to get their hands on such instruments of destruction? And just to make things that little bit extra difficult, gay men in Orlando are banned from giving blood unless they’ve been celibate for a year. Thankfully, there are hundreds and hundreds of people who have been lining up to donate blood, so much so that blood banks are almost at capacity.
I don’t want rainbow profile photos or status updates – I want people to write or speak to those in power, those who can make an actual, tangible difference in this world. Those who can pass the laws that need to be passed and say the things that everyone thinks but no one is brave enough to talk about. So many innocent lives were taken this week, and so many families and friendships are forever changed by this loss. No amount of words, vigils, flags, or prayers can console the grief these people and the community at whole is feeling right now.
The season finale of Queer as Folk ended with a scene back at Babylon, which now lay in ruins. But as Brian closed his eyes, the familiar music played once again, the lights shone down on the dancefloor, and the crowds once again appeared to celebrate the night. It is a metaphor for where we stand today – broken, bruised, but not defeated, and never silenced.
Developing updates here (via BuzzFeed)