By J. E. Knowles

Yesterday will live in infamy, as the worst terrorist attack in the U.S.A. since September 11, 2001. It was also the worst gun massacre in U.S. history, though it’s gotten to where we might as well not note these anymore.

I’m a praying person, but I don’t feel like prayer right now. I don’t even feel what I “should” feel, sadness for 50 lives lost, for their families, for the many more injured. The only feeling I’ve been able to summon up on the 13th of June (as it is here) is anger.

Anger, first and foremost, for my LGBT sisters and brothers, who were celebrating Pride (and Latin night) in an Orlando club. Who were gunned down for being who they were and where they were. Not being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The killer picked exactly the place and time he wanted—my people, in their own place, in our month of Pride. at the murderer who, like murderers before him, gets his name and picture and religion and homophobia all over the media, taking away from the victims of queerbashing terrorism. Anger at the terror that queer people have lived with for most of history, and still do. Anger that while Americans will wrap themselves in the tricoleur when Paris is attacked, when it comes to queerbashing, suddenly we are talking about what to call the terrorism. Radical Islam, or gun violence. I’m waiting for people who are not gay to stand up for us as who we are.

Anger at the politicians of whichever party who, at best, offer “thoughts and prayers,” but not massacre prevention or LGBT rights. Who at worst take credit for their “toughness” towards what they’ve already decided motivated the killer, completely ignoring the victims, their queerness, their fellow American lives. How “tough” does America need to be? We’re already tough enough for the slaughter of first graders to be accepted as the price of our way of life.

Anger at the fanaticism of the religious, whether it’s a terrorist rampaging during the holiest month of his own religion (see the Quran on Ramadan) or the lieutenant governor of Texas tweeting a Bible verse about us getting what we deserve from God. Anger at my fellow Christians when they see radical terrorism in Islam, but don’t think Christianity has any responsibility for Dan Patrick, or the Westboro Baptist Church, or the nearly 200 anti-LGBT bills proposed in the states this year.

And yes, anger that anybody who wants to shoot up a gay club, an employee party, a movie theatre, or an elementary school in America can buy a weapon whose only hideous purpose is slaughter in war. Anger at a political system so broken and dysfunctional that gun sanity desired by 90% of people (and a majority of those who own guns) is not enough to gain us anything but thoughts and prayers.

A friend in Toronto posted “Thoughts and prayers are nice. Gun control and queer rights are better.” If I think that’s what it’s all about, I should f*** off and move to Canada. Don’t worry, I already did.


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