Monday, June 13, 2016

Thoughts and Prayers: Orlando

Speaking for myself.

I don't want your thoughts and prayers.

I kept hearing about your thoughts and prayers all day today as I listened to news reports of the mass slaughter of LGBTQ people at a gay club in Orlando. People of all stripes, from all parts of the political spectrum, kept sending thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims and to the larger LGBTQ community.

For me.

I don't want them.

Keep them.

I remember well the hatred on the faces of the crowd one dark Halloween night long ago at the Saint Charles Tavern in Toronto. I saw rocks hurled. I saw names hurled. I saw hatred in action.

I remember that first gay pride march. I remember a rock striking Joe's shoulder. I remember fear curdling in my stomach as hatred made itself keenly present, in human form, standing watching us pass.

I have watched with a kind of wariness as the new acceptance took hold. I held myself back from enthusiasm at the seeming change in climate for LGBTQ people. I have never believed that hatred that could throw rocks and enmity that could form a fist could simply just, 'poof,' vanish. I have felt your tolerance and noticed that it didn't feel a lot difference than your opposition.

So keep your thoughts and prayers.

You need them more than I.

You who hate.

You who dismiss our humanity.

You who will us dead.

You want to give me something. You wanna make better, to tend to, the huge bruise left on the gay soul after 50 of us were gunned down, 53 of us lay in hospital, millions of us reeling in a re-realization of who we are and just who you are? You wanna?

Then do something.

Actually do something.

Don't just "like" the latest hashtag.

Don't just write a strongly worded facebook or twitter post.

Actually do something.

Like, maybe, say something when someone makes a bigoted remark, about ANYONE or ANY GROUP. Actually say something. Put your character on display. Make it known that you don't harbour those feelings and you don't countenance them in your presence.

Like, maybe, write a letter to a politician or a religious leader who goes on a bigoted rant against ANYONE or ANY GROUP ... tell them to shut up. Tell them that they've lost your support. Let them feel the consequence of their words.

Like, maybe, give to or volunteer at a charity that supports any equity seeking group. Make your heart big enough to love your actual and your metaphorical neighbour. Make yourself a person whose values show in how you spend your time.

Obviously I know that this act of hatred was specifically targeted at us, we LGBTQ people. I like to call us the 'alphabet people' because as we grow, as our awareness grows, more letters get added to the list. Inclusivity keeps getting bigger, and that thrills me. I know it was aimed at us ... but I think we need to target HATRED. Where ever it is found. However it manifests itself. I can't claim to be an activist for LGBTQ rights and hate any religious group, because there is an intersection within my minorities, where everyone finally meets. So everyone matters.

Just don't.

Please don't.

Send me your thoughts and prayers and go to bed thinking you've done your bit.

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