I am Orlando: Catherine Rice

This was posted in a private Facebook group for LGBTQ Christians and has been used by permission. Catherine’s words echoed my own feelings on many levels and I wanted to make sure her voice is heard by as many as possible. If you are interested in contributing to this theme, visit the Contact page in the Menu. 

WARNING: Coarse Language

“I want to brush back the hair from their faces and kiss their foreheads. I want to dress them in the clothes they would want to be buried in. I want to call them by their true names.

I worry about them. I worry about families that won’t accept the broken, queer body of their child. I worry about what will become of them. I worry about the boyfriends and girl friends and husbands and wives left behind.

It all makes me feel so helpless.

News reports have begun to roll in and they say that the shooter may, himself, have been gay or bisexual. His father calls him a good boy. He says his son was angered by two men kissing in Miami. He says God will punish my community, but it will not be at the hands of Muslims.

I want to hold Omar Mateen’s face in my hands and I want to ask why. I want to reach into his mind and cut away the decaying knots of hatred and confusion and fear. I want to turn back time and remind him who he is, find some magical words that will protect my community from this violence.

I write, and write, and write, searching for the words that will make the situation somehow ok, and sometimes I guess it comes out eloquently but mostly I feel like a dog chasing my tail. I write in circles. I write, not for the first time about fear.

When I was afraid to come out, I found nightclubs. The gay clubs welcomed me. I didn’t have to be anything. I could dance, sing, drink, be who I was. I kissed a girl for the first time in a club and I thought, “oh god, this is why people kiss each other, isn’t it?” Every night they opened their doors, a sanctuary from the problems in my life.

I started going to gay clubs when I was afraid to come out, and now that I am out, I am afraid to go to gay clubs. My sanctuaries have become places of violence and fear.

I am so, so tired of being afraid. I am tired of being an issue, I am tired of being used by Islamaphobes, and I am tired of listening to gun owners remind me that it isn’t the gun’s fault. I know that, asshat.

I am tired of listening to the same people who whined about trans women in their bathroom, talk about lighting candles for our lost sisters and brothers. They ignored us when their theology killed gay children and tore families apart, but now they feel bad. Now they want to help. I don’t want their help. Fuck forgiveness. Stop saying you are sorry and fix the goddamned system already. Stop talking and do something.

I am tired of being told this could happen to anyone. It didn’t happen to anyone. It happened to my people. My community. The people who loved me when no one else did.

I should say something about love conquering hate. About the young Muslim man who shared his story of pain and discrimination. (“Yeah, they shit on you. And it sucks. They shit on us too.”) I should say something about how this is winnable…but…I can’t. I am tired.

I am so goddamned tired.

I don’t want to fight anymore. I don’t want to try to make a difference anymore. I just want to cry.”

If you’re needing someone to talk to right now, reach out. You are not alone. Your voice matters. We can hear you. We love you. 

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