Like many across the country, my day began yesterday with news of the tragedy in Orlando. A gay bar, The Pulse Nightclub, was the scene of a deadly massacre leaving many dead and injured. In the aftermath, cities across the nation have come together in love and support for the victims and their families. It’s a way to gather as family and stand in solidarity against hate.
I attended one of Portland’s vigils last night. I needed to be with my people and my community. I wanted to grieve surrounded by love. Most of FoodRadical’s writings and stories rarely identify that I am a woman who loves women. If you don’t know me, this would not be apparent in my writing, with rare exceptions when I’ve used a pronoun in stories referencing “M”. Yesterdays assault left me with such heaviness in my heart. Learning this slaughter has ISIS leanings doubles my sadness for I know Islamophobia exists as does homophobia. It’s all hate in my opinion and this world has too much right now.
Nightclubs and gay bars were my safe space as I was coming out and coming to terms with who I was while I found my place in my new life. It was the space I could openly express me, be with other people like me and feel a sense of complete acceptance even though I may not have known the majority of people I was surrounded by. There was implicit love and safety. Remembering this for myself and coming to terms with what happened in Orlando aren’t syncing well in my psyche. Knowing that we as a community of people are still vulnerable to attacks of hatred; that this massacre took place in the one space where we are supposed to feel safe and protected is particularly heart-wrenching.
I needed to be with my people last night. I wanted to grieve beyond my couch watching live reports and reading endless on line accounts. I needed to be surrounded by love. This month, June…it is our month. June is PRIDE. Last night my community came together and showed that Pride. We stood in solidarity and love. We sent prayers and love to Orlando. My people. My Portland. It gave me what I needed and wanted last night. It filled me with hope. Love always wins.