PHILADELPHIA – People in the LGBTQIA+ community gathered Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate the lives and mourn the loss of the Q Nightclub mass shooting victims in Colorado Springs, CO, on November 19, 2022, the day before Transgender Remembrance day. The mass shooting, combined with a rise in anti- LGBTQIA+ and anti-Trans genocidal language and attacks over several years, has put the community on edge.
Those who were murdered that night weren’t the only victims that we need to remember. Nor is it the injured, the heroes that stopped that coward, or the rest of the patrons in the club that night. The entire LGBTQIA+ community are victims of this homophobic dirtbag, his dirtbag father, the right-wing creeps like Fucker Carlson, and the rest of the mouthbreathers they spoon-feed their hate.
We can’t allow this to be swept into the forgetfulness of America’s goldfish brain. We must view this horror in the nightmare of its context as a part of a war not just on the LGBTQIA+ community but the Jewish, Black, brown, indigenous, and Asian communities, on women and the poor.
We sat back for the last half dozen years and laughed about the civil war rhetoric spouted by the morons in the cult of Trumpism. We should have taken them seriously because that civil war started long ago. Hell, maybe it never ended when the North pulled the slave states kicking and screaming back into the union.
When it started or if there was ever even a pause doesn’t matter; what matters is that none of this is new. What matters are the real-world consequences for our communities, the trauma, broken families, the fears each of us is sacked with, the housing and food insecurities, and the missing loved ones we’ll never get to love on again.
The LGBTQIA+ community has always been a favorite punching bag for the right-wing in America, much like the Jewish and immigrant communities have been globally. Anti-semitism, anti-immigrant rhetoric, anti-black racism, homophobia, transphobia, and attacks on women and the poor are all intimately connected. They have been feeding off one another since the dawn of time, and they always will unless we address those that perpetuate it and its root causes.
Many of us in each affected community are exhausted; we’ve been fighting back for so long, but we don’t have the luxury of disillusionment or failure. We must see and feel the pain and trauma of all our brothers and sisters who are being ground up in the right-wing hate machine. Then stand with and around them. Solidarity is our safety net; it is the armor by which we will survive and thrive, even in the face of age-old hate and violence.
This solidarity begins not after one of us is stricken by a horror like the Q Nightclub, Pulse Nightclub, Tree of Life Synagogue, Buffalo, or El Passo mass shootings. It begins in our everyday life, on the train, at work, at school, in our neighborhoods, and at home. Solidarity must become our way of life, leaving no one behind.
In times like these, I am constantly reminded of Pam Africa’s words, “there is no savior but ourselves.” The police and politicians can’t or won’t protect us, so it falls to each of us individually, as neighborhoods and as communities, to protect each other, to house, feed, and educate each other. To comfort each other in all our moments of struggle, no matter how small they seem, and to speak out for each other.
It is time we got out into these streets and held the purveyors of hate and misinformation accountable. We must do it to show these thugs, White supremacists, Christian Nationalists, and other hate mongers of the world that we are not afraid of them; we have each other’s back. Then we must come out en mass and oppose them whenever they slither their little heads from under the rock.