In the wake of the tragedy in Orlando, an interesting conversation has emerged. There’s a dialogue between the idea that all Americans should be affronted by the attack and the idea that this was an attack intended to terrorize and silence LGBTQ voices during a celebration month specifically for them.
“So what?! I’m just as scared of that possibility as anybody else! Stop trying to take ownership of the tragedy. ‘You people’ politicize everything.”
“We” only politicize things that matter in a political context. Unfortunately, the world has made the person I choose to love a political issue. So yes, I suppose “us people” – that is, your brothers, sisters, cousins, parents, children, neighbors, coworkers, and peers – do indeed politicize everything.
I will, however, continue to politicize it.
Until I don’t have to answer questions from prying strangers about my sexuality.
Until I can walk down the street in Anytown, USA holding my boyfriend’s hand without you taking a second glance.
Until I can adopt one of the many children without parents without jumping through acrobatic hoops and fielding lawsuits from insert-organization-here.
Until I can use the same bathroom as others without you caring what my down-there looked like when I was born.
Until I can claim the will of my husband without his family claiming that my marriage wasn’t real since we weren’t a “normal” couple.
Until I can pick my child up from school without having to justify why she has two dads.
Until I can go to dinner with my husband and child without you stopping at our table and asking “who does she call ‘daddy’ then?”
Until I can ride the train home after a date and share a kiss with my boyfriend without you saying “I don’t want my kid seeing that.”
Until I can walk down the street without you calling out slurs and your friend apologizing: “Sorry, he’s just drunk.” As if that is any justification.
Until I can rent an apartment with my boyfriend without you insisting that we’re just roommates.
Until I can have straight friends without you insisting I must have a crush on them, “because, you know.”
Until I can speak about my boyfriend without you insisting I tell you “wears the pants” or which one of us is the “pitcher.”
Until I can donate blood to help in a tragedy that directly affected my friends and neighbors without you dictating my celibacy.
Yes. I will politicize it. Because we can’t afford not to politicize it. You have made sure of that. So yes, I will take ownership in the attack. It should be an affront to all Americans, but next week you’ll have forgotten that this was a deliberate hate crime, and the status quo will continue. For me, however, my reality will remain rooted in fear of going to a club because “what if somebody comes in and tries to do a copycat attack?”
I’m scared. And that’s a shame.