Thinking About the Orlando shootings

A friend passed on this beautiful reflection written by his child a month ago today, the day after the massacre that took place in Orlando. This beautiful reflection touched me deeply, and with permission, I share it with you. (Thanks, Kelsen!)

today i’m holding space and sadness and grief for all of the people who lost their lives in the Orlando shooting.
i’m thinking about the complexities that queer and trans people negotiate in relationship to family and community life — and the additional layers of complexity that are added when people are the targets of racism, xenophobia, homophobia and/or transphobia all at once.
i’m thinking about how it’s possible that some families or coworkers didn’t know that their family member or coworker frequented gay bars.
i’m thinking that whether people who were there lived or died, this trauma could be the way that a person gets outted.
i’m wondering how people will be remembered and who will do that remembering?
i’m thinking about how brown queer people who died are already being used as political pawns when their bodies haven’t even been laid to rest.
i’m thinking about those who lost lovers, best friends, confidants, comrades, parents, and children.
i’m thinking about the bio fams who were proud and accepting of their loved ones, and how grateful i am for those families.
i’m thinking about how some of the people who were killed might have been estranged from their bio families for being who they were.
i’m thinking about the roots of homophobia and transphobia and the connections of these systems to white supremacy.
i’m thinking about how chosen family is often created to find home when the homes, communities, and countries people are born into have no space for them. i’m thinking about home and how qtpoc spaces are so essential, spaces where people can show up in all of their identities and not have to chose one, where people can see themselves and their experiences reflected in others. i’m thinking about how these spaces are so sacred, and how as a white QT person, i can only begin to imagine the heaviness of this violence for those who seek solace & healing & safety & community & resistance in qtpoc spaces.
i’m thinking about the collective grief and trauma that Latinx queer community must be feeling in Orlando and around the world. how does a community recover from something like this?
i’m thinking about how being queer and Muslim is not a contradiction and how painful it must be to have to assert that these identities can coexist and that Islamophobia is not the answer.
i’m thinking about what it means when a dance floor where you are celebrating all of you becomes the place where your friends were sent to their tombs.
i’m thinking about how maybe this was the first and last time that someone worked up the courage to go to a gay bar.
i’m thinking about how trans people are sometimes posthumously misgendered or misnamed – in death certificates, on graves, at a funeral or celebration of life.
i’m thinking about how these feelings fit the definition of a heavy heart.
i’m feeling, i’m feeling, i’m feeling. let’s hold each other close tonight and every night.
Kelsen Caldwell 6/13/16