Thoughts on being queer in a violent 2016

For the past week (& a bit), I’ve been thinking a lot about this blogpost. I’m sure we all know by now what happened in Orlando. The brutal attack on Pulse has send ripples through the global LGBT community and its allies, and everyone has had their say by now.

I’ve been thinking about this blogpost, because I felt like I had to say something. As a blogger, and more importantly: as part of the LGBT community. But the truth is, that most of the time I’m lost for words. There’ve been several incarnations of this post, and yet none of them have made it online, until now.

The world is a mad place. Between Christina Grimmie, the Orlando shooting, Jo Cox, and all the hundreds of deaths in countries at war, it seems like things are more grim than ever. And in a way, they are. The speed with which we communicate these problems is ever increasing, and bad news reaches us more often and more easily. Combine this with our tendency to focus on bad news, and it sure does look like everything is Terrible. Does this mean the world is actually getting worse? No. Humanity has always been kind of shitty. It only takes a glance at history to know that pointless slaughter is something of a regular occurrence.

For queer people like myself, there’s a whole added level of violence, micro-aggression, (sub)conscious homophobia and meant-well-but-came-out-super-wrong comments. This is what made the Pulse shooting a direct attack on the LGBT community and not an attack on Western lifestyle or freedom in general. LGBT people don’t get the freedom of ignoring our sexuality & gender identities, of dismissing it as not important in the grand scheme of things. It’s a core part of our identities, whether we like it or not, and something we are confronted with on a daily basis.

It’s easy to get angry – and it’s ok, too. It’s alright to be angry because innocent people get attacked. It’s alright to be angry because someone, knowingly or unknowingly, manages to insult you. Most people mean well, but that doesn’t mean their actions suddenly stop hurting. And some people definitely don’t mean well, and these people will always exist and will always find a way to hurt you.

The world is a mad place. But it’s important to remember that it’s a mad place filled with some bad people and a lot of good people who are just trying to make the best of their time here. Humanity might be kind of shitty, but humanity is also beautiful and has created and done absolutely beautiful things. Together, we can keep the good work going. Pulse, a gay nightclub with special l@tin evenings, was one of those beautiful places where people could be themselves. Jo Cox was a person working constantly to create a more beautiful world.

It’s time for me to do my part, and be more vocal about being queer. It’s time to talk more about the comments I hear regularly, and address them. It won’t make me more popular, it won’t make my life easier. But if it means more visibility for queer people, I’m going to do it.

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