I woke to some of the worst news I’d ever received.
The Pulse Nightclub tragedy was plastered all over social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. News articles were everywhere and I clicked them all, slowly piecing the story together. My friends, queer or not, uploaded pictures of rainbow flags and candles and flowers to express their condolences and support. I did not stumble down the stairs and fall, teary-eyed, into my mother’s arms; instead, I lay in my bed, in the dark, numb. I just could not believe what I was reading. That somewhere south of here, in Orlando, Florida, 49 queer people were murdered in a place that was supposed to be safe for them. That 49 queer people, people of my community, the community that wrapped its arms around all its members and tried to protect them at all costs, were dead.
I didn’t know how to talk about it, not immediately. It kind of seemed like everyone else was feeling the same. We were all trying to find some ray of light to come out of this. We were all trying to honor the murdered, and make sense of our loss. But the LGBTQ community had never faltered in its love, in its resilience, and it wasn’t about to start now. It wrapped its arms tighter around everyone. It raised its voice until it was warm and booming, reaching the ears of politicians, students, and parents. June 12th, 2016 was not the end of it all, it said. We go on.
We honored the murdered, and continue to do so. We wept, and continue to do so. But the hate crime that was the Pulse shooting, committed against the LGBTQ community on Latin night, was not the end of it all. We go on.
Cody Blattner, Student at Lehigh University, Intern at UUA - UNO