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A Week in the Wake of the Orlando Massacre 

A Week in the Wake of the Orlando Massacre

A Week in the Wake of the Orlando Massacre

We, as a community, have come far since the Orlando Shooting


It’s been 10 days since the shooting in Orlando. Ten days since 49 members of our community were murdered and 53 injured in what was supposed to be a safe space. One of the few safe spaces that queer men and women have.

The news cycle is beginning to wind down, although there a number of sites still reporting on it daily, as they should. This tragedy is something that cannot fade into the background. These lives -- their stories -- their journeys, cannot be lost in vain.

And even though the senate failed to pass sensible gun-control laws, the HRC is currently on the case. And while many of us, myself included, take some issue with the way the HRC has conducted themselves, and the way they often seem to push forward a very white-centric, gay, cis agenda at the cost of POC, genderqueer, and sexually fluid folk, I think we can all agree, regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation, that the HRC taking on gun control is in all of our best interests. And they actually have a shot.

In the face of this tragedy, it’s not only important to honor the lives that are lost, but also, to look at how we responded as a community in the face of tragedy. In the face of hate. In the face of senseless violence.

We thrived. We came together. We supported one another. We not only took to social media but took to the streets.

We held vigils all around the world, from Los Angeles to Boston to London. At the Oakland vigil, yet another shooting broke out but still, we persevered. Still, we held our heads up high. We continued and are continuing to celebrate pride month all over the US.

We increased awareness and raised money for the victims and their finals. Already, over five million dollars have been raised for the members of the Orlando Massacre.

We wouldn’t let Republicans de-politicize a clearly political situation. When they repeatedly left out the fact that it was queer, men and women -- primarily queer latino and black men -- that were affected by this tragedy, we didn’t let them. We made it clear that this is about hate for the LGBTQ+ community. Not an arbitrary attack on a club. It was a gay club. A place for men, women, and all genderqueer people, to feel, if only for a few hours, that everything will be okay. That we can be unabashedly ourselves.  

We stopped the Westboro Baptist Church from entering the funeral of those who perished. We blocked them at the entrance, unwilling to let them disrespect the victims and their families.    

We are making the push to be able to donate blood -- for the FDA to screen for sexual risk as opposed to sexual orientation. Because at the end of the day, gay men don’t spread HIV, unprotected sex spreads HIV.

We are a people that have been denigrated, disrespected, and misrepresented. We are a community that has been unfairly attacked by churches around the world. Even in the face of this horrific atrocity, leaders of churches are justifying, and in some cases, even praising the crimes of the shooter.

We are physically attacked for holding our lover's hands in the streets. We are kicked out of our homes for being unable to control whom we love. We are a people that were murdered for just wanting to dance.

But we have, and always will persevere. We are strong. We are Orlando Strong. We come together in times of crises. We will not be erased. We will not be stereotyped. We will not be silenced. We will love openly, and will continue to love. We will still kiss in public. We will still hold hands with the people we love, regardless of our gender or theirs.

There’s no question that there will be other attacks on us, but we will always stand together. As we have done, and as we will continue to do. We will never give up. Our very lives depend on it. 

Photo: Steven Johnson dances amongst club goers as they gather outside Parliament House, an LGBT nightclub, close to the one week anniversary of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting late Saturday, June 18, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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Zachary Zane

Zachary Zane is a writer, YouTube influencer, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, dating, relationships, and identity politics. Check out his YouTube channel here.

Zachary Zane is a writer, YouTube influencer, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, dating, relationships, and identity politics. Check out his YouTube channel here.