Like so many of you, we at Un/Settled are devastated by the horrific tragedy that occurred early Sunday morning at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Our hearts go out to the families, friends, and loved ones of the victims; the citizens of Orlando; and everyone directly affected by this cruel act. To the LGBTQ and Latino communities, we stand with you in love and solidarity. To those in the Muslim community facing threats because of bigotry, we stand with you in love and solidarity as well. We recognize that the act of one person motivated by violent extremism does not speak for an entire tradition.
June is Pride Month, and for us a chance to reflect on the complex issues at the nexus of gender, sexuality, and rural upbringing. Last week, we had begun laying the groundwork for a series of posts on LGBTQ themes. Our goal was – and still is – to begin posting this series this week. But the attack in Orlando has forced us to see this series differently.
Our interest in this theme was born from our experiences growing up in a part of America beset by far too much bigotry. We were interested in exploring our experiences from the perspective of having moved away to more progressive cities. Sometimes our respective moves can feel like a comforting escape from a part of the country where people can be bullied for simply not fitting in. The attack in Orlando – and the thwarted attack during Pride week in Los Angeles, for that matter – is a painful reminder that being queer is still a radical act no matter where someone lives, and one that renders a person vulnerable even in the spaces considered safest of all within the community.
Today we pause and reflect on this. And we try to find within us a space for courage and love.
As we do so, we are heartened by Lin Manuel’s words during his speech at the Tony Awards on Sunday night. As Manuel reminded us, hate is not new. Fear is not new. But we are strong because we have hope and love:
“We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer. And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside…Now fill the world with music, love and pride.”
-Bryna and William