As soon as our community learned about the killings, we started reaching out to each other via social media, text and in-person. We started to express a need to connect with each other and act from that space. Below are some of our reflections, feelings and experiences.
” I want my presence to signify that others are not alone. I want others who identify like us to know this!”
“I came because we need to get out, be known to the community.”
“We feel hidden and I want to be seen.”
“This did not happen in a vacuum.”
“There are day to day negative experiences we as LGBTQ people experience but we may have put that to rest a bit locally and this event just brought all of that up quickly.”
“I don’t want to have to carry a gun, a knife, or have a survivor mode to feel safe where I live.”
“In light of the intersectionality in this shooting and others, I am questioning what it means to be a gay white male and also what it means to be an American in the modern times.”
“Every day I get horrid messages on Facebook. That is my life. I live with this.”
“I’m struggling with guilt that this particular shooting hit me so hard.”
“I live my life knowing that something might happen to me; I am prepared.”
“The support in this community from businesses is amazing and yet there is more that we need to put in place to feel safe and validated as a community.”
“I have a knot in my stomach that is not going away.”
“I have this piercing pain in my heart that is not going away.”
“I’m fearful that the way media is covering this it normalizes safe spaces as targets. The churches that were vandalized were sacred. Our clubs are our safe spaces and now this.”
We are now in the process of strengthening our local communications between us, promoting the Come Out & Night of Pride event.