Chosen Family Open Thread and Safe Space For Healing

Feature image via The Guardian

Hello, my dear friends. It’s been over 24 hours since I woke up to the news of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and even though I’ve hardly read about or thought about anything else since then, I still don’t know what to say or how to talk about it. A lot of you are probably feeling the same way. Many gay and trans folks who were able to be with chosen family yesterday are back at their jobs today, surrounded by people who can’t understand what’s going on in our hearts right now, or — worse — using this hate crime to double down on racism, xenophobia, and gun mania. So, we thought it might be a good idea to get an open thread going, to create a safe space where we can process and begin to heal with each other’s help.

We love y’all very much. We will make it through this together, like we always have done, and always will do.

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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1218 articles for us.

433 Comments

  1. This hits way too close to home and comes at a time in my life when I was finally comfortable saying I’m a lesbian or queer without flinching. I can’t stop thinking about the beautiful souls who were murdered and I can’t stop crying. I have a constant feeling like I am going to throw up. This could be any of us. We are simply existing. There is a neoconservative cultural war trying to eradicate all of us. I can’t fathom the hate. I am sad and confused. I don’t know what to do or how to act. And I missed the only vigil in my area. I was in Ann Arbor at the time but I didn’t know it was going on and I needed to be a part of that.

  2. I was having a really hard time last night after reading the news all day and tried to watch a nice queer movie to calm down and actually found a really soothing one on Netflix if anyone is interested. “Of Girls and Horses” is a German movie by Monika Treut (hashtag #lesbianwomeninfilm) and it is really very sweet–it’s the kind of movie to watch if you’re just trying to get calm. Nothing loud or aggressive happens, there’s absolutely no men in the whole movie, there’s no technology or phones–it’s just an hour and a half of pretty shots of horses and the german countryside and women loving women. It almost feels like a dream sequence. Granted, if you don’t like horses very much you might get bored, but it was really calming and a good way to unwind after a day of feeling very wound tight.

  3. I had the day off from work today, which helped immensely in terms of processing my feelings. I guess the hardest part is the fact that being in the closet means my parents don’t understand why this makes me so upset or why my friends and I are nervous about the Pride parade we are going to this weekend. Regardless, its nice to have Autostraddle here. I can spend the day browsing fluffy gay stuff to make myself feel better.

  4. I take extra time off to decompress from camp, I’ve never been more grateful to not have to hear my white middle class conservative co-workers opinions for the rest of this week. I would not have handled them gracefully about this.

  5. Thank you for this, all. Your words and grief and rage and love are so important and so valid, and you’ve eased some of the emptiness this weekend has made me feel. Today there was a group of hate preachers with a megaphone yelling about how all queers go to hell on my city’s main street, and I had to walk past them just to buy my groceries. The audacity of doing something like that after this weekend – I almost cried right there. The world feels dark and unsafe today, and I’m just a small scared queer who’s far from home.

  6. And tonight, reports that Mateen had been at the club repeatedly over a long period of time, and I cannot with the smug reactions to that piece of information. So self-satisfied. “Called it!” Well good for you, detective, for solving this massacre. If only we’d come to you first. Now I suppose we get to wrap this up with a pretty little bow and put it in the “self-hatred” box so we can keep pretending away the violence and hatred the LGBT community lives with every fucking day.

    • I’m sure many if not most homophobic murderers are acting out of internalized homophobia… and so what?
      It doesn’t change that homophobia is causing this. It doesn’t change that the straights are killing us, they’re just using someone else’s disposable body to pull the trigger. It doesn’t make the murders less tragic or political.

      • I actually was (very) surprised to discover that NPR did a report where they were cautioning against the narrative that most hate crimes against us are done by people with same-sex attractions. In fact, the “expert” they interviewed said what little research there is on this subject more supports the opposite conclusions.

        I think most of the NPR coverage has been … shall we say…subpar… but this particular interview does a number of things I think are both interesting and important to point out about the BS in how this issue has been analyzed.

        Here’s an excerpt:

        INTERVIEWER: “I think a lot of people may have heard this idea that the most anti-gay people are themselves repressed homosexuals. Are you saying that’s got no founding in science?”

        INTERVIEWEE: “I’m saying that that has happened, but, yeah, we don’t have support to say that that’s typically the case. And, in fact, we have much more evidence for saying that it’s not.”

        Here’s a link to the entire transcript:

        http://www.npr.org/2016/06/15/482206179/psychologist-urges-caution-in-speculation-about-orlando-gunmans-sexuality

        I was really helped by seeing this article, because the “it was coming from inside the house” reactions have been sending me into my most inflamed and intemperate places. The ability to give people this article provided me with a calm way to debunk it without spraining my “don’t lose your cool” muscles.

  7. Thank you for being here.
    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and emotions.
    I am not good at putting my emotions into words but reading yours made me feel understood and included.
    Thank you!

  8. I had so much trouble concentrating at work today. Science doesn’t seem important anymore. I haven’t felt like this since the Boston Marathon attack (I was raised in MA).

    I think I’m going to channel my rage into some very angry letters to my gun-loving, queer-hating, probably slightly racist Congressperson.

  9. I don’t know how to process this. My mental health has been shaky at best lately. I just feel so tired and empty. I want to do something to help, but I also feel helpless and afraid. And I feel guilty, because this happened a half country away from me, and the last thing I want to do is co-opt someone else’s pain and grief.

    But I guess that’s the thing – this happened in Orlando, to 49 beautiful souls and their loved ones – but the same hate that caused this man’s actions spans continents. This could have happened to people celebrating Pride in LA if police hadn’t stopped a man with a car full of guns. It could have happened to any of us anywhere. It shouldn’t have happened to anyone.

    How do we stop this? When does it end?

  10. Thank you for this article!

    Yesterday I was mad, now I’m just sad and tired. Cried maybe three times today (hearing Cyndi’s True Colours on the radio didn’t help things!) and I just need a hug.

    It’s a time when I wish my girlfriend didn’t live so far away. I want to just be curled up around her, cry and hold her until I can’t anymore. Hopefully a skype date tonight will help a little. Really hope I won’t lose it on there, really hate doing that with her.

    Hope everyone is slowly healing, or will start to soon. Again, thank you for this article and I’m sorry we all have to go through this.

  11. First I was so, so angry, and then I was sad, and now I’m just wandering around numb and unable to reach back into a space where I feel real.

    In more personal news, I came out to my parents as demigirl today (yep, I’m one of the queerlings). I think something about the reminder of our mortality pushed me to try to live as myself for as long as possible. In retrospect, it was a bad idea. Now I’m grieving while trying to figure out how to get them to understand that my birth name makes me uncomfortable and that could they please, please put the person over the name, because being called the wrong name triggered dysphoria earlier and this whole week has just been full of crap.

    Thank god I have good articles about what is going on, and my friends are supportive and beautiful.

  12. I’ve been feeling so numb. Overwhelmed with grief. Been trying very hard not to cry at work but I lost it a few times. Listening to the news coverage doesn’t help. And then when they started releasing the victims names. *sigh*

    My best friend reached out via g-chat. Asked me how I was. I told her I was really fucking sad and in the verge of tears. She then said she wasn’t sure if she should say anything because she didn’t want to trigger anything. She thought I was sad about this confusing girl I’m currently seeing/not seeing. I corrected her and told her I was referring to what happened in Orlando. Her response was, “oh, yeah…sorry. that sucks” – Like, a total brush off. She kept on chatting about her life and her problems and I just couldn’t. I told her that wasn’t in a chatty mood and told her to have a good rest of her day. She’s straight and sometimes she just doesn’t get it.

    This is why we need queer spaces, queer voices, queer friends. Thank you for this space.

  13. I just can’t really understand that this is the world that we live in, I can’t accept it and I feel so powerless and overwhelmed with sadness and anger. Like many commenters here I also was surprised by how hard this hit me — I’m geographically far away in Europe, white and cis. But fuck, this was a hate crime against a community we’re all part of regardless of physical location. I don’t think any of my straight friends understand this, and I don’t really know how to feel about rainbow-filtered selfies right now. I’m so grateful of this thread and I send all my love for all you wonderful humans.

  14. Thank for this safe space Heather.I feel like I’ve been wanting to explode all day. I was completely useless at work and couldn’t concentrate thinking about this. It didn’t help matters that my coworkers were completely unfazed and didn’t mention the incident at all. I felt so alone because I have no one to talk to about how upset and scared I feel. I know we have to stay strong as a community but I can’t help feeling hesitant to even attend pride this year.

  15. I had to work both yesterday and today. It’s not as bad as it could be, I work with a couple really close friends. The worst parts were too many people asking how I am, one of my coworkers doing some bizarre derailing shit when I had a little vent, and how wrong it felt that everyone else was going about as normal. I did get to see my best friend, that helped. She didn’t ask how I was, she let me rant randomly and disconnectedly, and she gave me a long hug. I got a couple hugs. I don’t know if the others were because they knew, or just because of how I looked, but.

    Meanwhile at home, (I live right next to my sister and her family, and my dad is in her basement,) there was no mention of it at all. Today she was almost willing to go to a candlelight vigil with me, but I didn’t have it in me to go anywhere else.

    I just saw a post on tumblr that sums it up so well. It’s so much more painful because there is no one in my immediate area that is grieving like I am.

  16. The airport won’t stop playing stories from the survivors repreating the events over and over again on every single tv near my gate. Thank you for this space, where I can feel sick without outing myself or scaring people who care about me.

  17. Thank you for this post. I have spent the past two days moving to a new place and the exertion doesn’t leave much time to think, but any time I’ve had some down time to think I just break down. My heart breaks for everyone affected. And I feel so so angry about everything.

    • I just moved this weekend as well; it took me until this morning to fully process what happened. I hope you have a safe space in your new location. I understand how overwhelming dealing with feelings are when the stress of picking up your life is in the forefront of your mind :(

  18. I’am just really grateful for autostraddle at this time and all support on it, It’s been a really terrible few days, being gay and muslim, being raised and living in a Muslim family and country, i can see reactions from both sides and it’s been really shitty so it’s a comfort to find a place here,all i hope for at this point is for the next few days to not be as fucked up, and thanks again for the safe space

  19. I just wanted to say I survived this day. I went to work, and I did the thing. I sat there with my coworkers while everyone joked and existed in their parallel universes where this didn’t happen, and I did not break down, I didn’t cry. I survived. I don’t think I would have without you guys.

  20. I want to post something on social media to express all of the complicated feelings that I have about what happened and the ways that people are responding (and not responding) to it. But I can’t put together words that convey all that I wish I could encompass.

  21. I don’t think it really hit me until this morning. It was weird because nearly a year ago now I just moved into a new apartment and I woke up the first morning I was there to a bunch of text messages about how the marriage equality bill passed. I remember I cried tears of joy, ate lunch with my best friend, then went to join the celebrations at Stonewall. This morning, I woke up in my new apartment for the first time to the exact same group of friends texting me, this time about their misery instead of their joy. I had lunch today with my same best friend and after we joined the vigil at Stonewall. The parallels are killing me because instead of crying out of sheer joy I cried for the first time today out of utter, bone-deep sadness. Last year I felt like anything was possible, and now I just feel angry. I just don’t know how to talk about it yet.

  22. I’m so sad and I’m so tired and I’m so scared

    there’s a part of me who feels like I shouldn’t be so scared because it’s not like I practice Islam anymore, not like I walk around in a hijab or whatever. But at the same time it says Islam on the ID card of the Muslim country whose passport bears my Muslim last name and I’ve had people catcall me with “9/11!” on the street and I’ve had white queers ask me if I “realize that this is a party for lesbians” while a white straight friend goes by unasked and I’ve had people tell me to just go back to where I came from

    and yet “where I came from” releases a statement every few weeks about how gay rights are anti-Islam and they keep telling me to “go back to where your parents came from” and “where my parents came from” a couple of prominent LGBT activists was murdered for being “enemies of Islam” and the supposedly secular government does fuck all

    and I’m in a new city in the same country where even the progressive socialist queermos don’t see the problem with holding anti-racist meetings that only have one person of color in them and where it’s hard to make friends because people just kinda snub you if you’re not cool enough and people think Halal food is the work of the devil

    and a friend said that our gun laws are probably the ONLY thing that’s prevented a massacre here, not because people are necessarily more tolerant or whatever, it’s just harder apparently to act on heinous bigotry though that doesn’t stop attacks from happening it’s just smaller

    and there is a gun shop down the road from my house

    and this fellow got his guns legally despite being on a list of terrorists and yet this country does not exactly have a list of white bigots

    and i’m scared of the repercussions and i’m lonely and i feel like i have no right to either but here i am failing to apply for jobs for the xth day running because i’m just so heartsick

    (if you’re in melbourne and especially if you’re poc please say hi)

    • hey, hi, hello I don’t have the words to describe how much I feel you and even though I consider myself a practicing Muslim and I wear hijab so the narrative is not entirely the same but your feelings are the closest thing I have found to my own. Tired and scared and lonely and heartsick are just the beginning. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this a new city on your own.

      I’m in Melbourne, I’m poc, so hi. hugs and a shoulder to cry on are on offer, IRL or virtual if you need it.

    • Not in Melbourne, not POC but you were one of my first thoughts after I got the full details.
      @blzkg has been amplifying queer and straight muslim voices that are speaking out against the attack as well as a piece or two on latinxs and others smacking down Islamaphobia right now.

      You’re not alone in the world fighting this.

      But still I’m scared for you and I’m scared for my man who has the same first name as the shooter. Who is latinx but has gotten his identity mistaken before and heard either “As-salam alaikum” at best and slurs or threats at worst.

      All the things you feel are valid and you are in my thoughts.

    • a little belated because I’ve been trying to stay off the internet and not get overwhelmed—I’m in melbourne for the next month, I’m poc, I’ve been feeling hella isolated because it seems like none of my local friends really get why I’m taking this so hard; hmu if you want to chat online or off.

  23. Thank you for this space.

    I found out while at work yesterday. I am in customer service, and every smile hurt. None of my queer co-workers were scheduled to work, which made me feel lonely, but was probably also good because I doubt I’d have been able to keep it together if I had had someone to share my grief with.

    I texted my best friend on the way home and we hadn’t spoken all day but all I had to write was “I don’t want to talk to anyone but you today” and he knew exactly what I meant.

    There was a pretty huge vigil in my town last night but I did not go. Just hearing people talk on the subway on the way home was enough – the callousness, the lack of empathy or care.

    I’m still broken and so scared today and I don’t really know what to do with my feelings. It’s too hard.

  24. I’m not up to going out there. I was supposed to go yesterday to the Hollywood pride. I know nothing happened because they caught him but still. It would be my first Pride and my mom just finally accepted me as a lesbian. So, I’d celebrate until I couldn’t anymore. I even had planned to wear my pink and black tutu. I was gonna take my sister to go with me since I didn’t know anyone else to go with.

    I think I’ll just stay in and celebrate with watching The L Word or Orange Is The New Black <3

    Please, I could use some more queer friends to feel safer <3

    https://www.facebook.com/CrystalLivingDeadDollRamos

  25. I’ve been crying all weekend. I work at a big company, and there’s only three of us out at work. We were all three walking around in such a deep haze, while (almost) everyone else carried on like it was just another shooting. I don’t know if I feel worse that we have so many shootings that this could be “just another” one, or that people are already trying to erase the gay and make this about religion, or that I’m so ostracized from my family because i’m gay that I can’t even call my mom and say how sad and scared and upset I am. So many feelings, and feels so overwhelming. I’m glad for this space and for all of you. So much love.

  26. Just want to say thank you all again. This morning, I feel less hopeless. The crying has stopped. Thanks to you all, I can go to work now and not feel a damn thing until I get home. Just… thanks <3 Hang in there, everybody.

  27. I’ve been at a library conference since Sunday morning, so I first learned about this when the confirmed murdered was only 20. I’ve only been shocked, and have cried, in fits and starts because conference-ing is its own weird mental space, and it feels so discordant and wrong to be expected to network and be professional and smile while at the same time all I really want is a hug from my girlfriend. There was a silent prayer vigil downtown that I saw while I was rushing to a conference event, and I paused for a few moments. The streets were eerily silent, as the police had blocked off traffic, the crowds said nothing, and they circled the city hall building. It was completely silent even hours later with the candles spread out across the stonework on my way back from the conference.

  28. I was alone when I read the first headlines, and I couldn’t cry. I felt like someone hit me in the chest with a sledgehammer, but I couldn’t cry.

    I don’t have a queer family. I’m out to my family and friends, but the folks who are queer and near to my heart are scattered across the continent.

    I spent my day trying to follow through with plans I had made, and while everyone else was downing mojitos and laughing, I smiled along and tried not to take off my sunglasses so nobody would see how close I was to losing my shit completely. I wanted to be on Facebook to see how my community was handling it, and every time I took out my phone I got “don’t be that person on the phone, be here.”

    Normally I’d agree. But yesterday I didn’t care.

    Today during work it was the same – sitting in the work truck trying to catch up with everyone, and my coworker kept making fun of me for being on my phone.

    It is such a relief to be alone, to be able to connect to this without an audience, and to have the space to finally cry.

    • Feeling very much the same. It’s amazing how many of us are feeling like we need to be physically together and can’t because of circumstances. I sat on my phone during the end of the year meeting at school just scrolling through the news feeds and posts and wishing I could get out of there and stop listening to their stupid agendas and training because who cares! 49 of my family members just died! No one in the room really got it even though they tried to be supportive when I started crying everytime someone talked to me.

  29. Thank you, Autostraddle and everyone here, for creating this space. Going to work today with a bunch of straight people who knew I was sad but couldn’t *get* it was hard. I stumbled through the day, with lots of trips to the bathroom to cry. I keep a bottle of eucalyptus oil with me, and smelling that or rubbing some on my palms helped to calm me down. Love and peace to each and every one of you. Queer family.

  30. Here’s a bit of crabbiness, tbh as a welcome break from unmitigated sadness:

    A straight white cis woman I know decided to show her “support” for the community by putting a picture of herself laughing and kissing her straight white cis husband with one of those rainbow GLAAD frames as her FB picture with the caption “Love wins.”

    YOUR love wins. YOUR love is unchallenged. This is NOT. ABOUT. YOUR. LOVE. It felt like a slap in the face.

  31. Yesterday I think I was in shock. I went about my day, disheartened by yet another tragedy, but also not really feeling it. Today I just feel sad. Disappointed. Defeated. I’m sad about the state of the world, all the hatred and violence and just sheer lack of kindness towards others. I just feel like what is the damn point, ya know? It’s like we fight and fight and struggle for representation, recognition, acceptance, visibility, things kinda/sorta/but not really get better…maybe there are more queer people on tv, gay marriage is legal in the US, maybe a school gets a gender neutral washroom, but then one day we wake up to 50 lgbtq people shot for being who they are. 3 steps forward, a couple thousand back.

    I’ve dedicated my life’s work to LGBTQ rights and right now, I just feel defeated.

  32. words. not my thing. but my heart is ill with grief and fear. yet the ignorance of people, friends and family, is pushing me towards all out rage. without a support system of queer friends or even acquaintances i have no trusted outlet. so here i sit, a tropical storm of emotions, trying to shed a tear for the first time, because i finally feel validated for my many tumultuous emotions.

  33. I feel so much grief. It’s overwhelming. When you’re feeling like this, the best – only – comfort is the solidarity and support of the people around you.

    I’m not out so I don’t have this. Everything I go through, I do it alone. So I’m really grateful for this judgement-free space and a family I don’t know but love all the same.

    • Hugs and love. I’m feeling isolated right now as well and am grateful for an online community even if there isn’t a physical one to mourn with. Know that you’re not alone in this and we’re here with you feeling this pain and grief.

  34. I decided to leave the house and go to trivia and the table next to us named their team “Facebook Gun Control Debate Squad”.

    Fuck no. Get away from this bar. Your name is shitty and you should feel bad and it set me off on a rant (to my coworkers, not to them)

  35. I never comment but I really don’t know where else to go or who to turn to right now. It hurts so much, and to hear so many people outright deny that homophobia had anything to do with this, or if they do it’s only to talk about Islamic extremism. It’s the worst coming from my family. My Christian dad thinks, like many seem to, that homophobia ended in the 80s. I can’t out myself to defend how upset I am about it. I hate arguing anyway.
    I wish every day for a Chosen Family, I wish I could just be in the company of someone who understands. Instead I feel like I’m totally alone. I’m out to one straight friend, and I see their eyes glaze over when I bring up this stuff.
    I was starting to feel safe in who I am, now I’m not. It seems like no one gives a damn about lgbtq people unless it furthers their agenda.

  36. I did not expect to be affected by this in the way I have been, I’m so far away really, on the over side of the world, but it has completely shaken me. I’m supposed to be studying for my university exams and I just haven’t been able to do anything. The complete apathy from so many of the straight people in my life has just made the whole thing so heart breaking. I don’t know how long I’m allowed to be this upset when I didn’t know anyone involved, but I can’t imagine ever thinking about this and not crying

  37. Going back to work was weird and hard today. This tragedy has kind of taken over my head and heart and I had to get into this work rhythm that didn’t feel right at all for what I was feeling and needed to feel. My bosses are a lesbian couple, but they had nothing to say about it, and they didn’t even seem to remember it had happened at first when I referenced the tragedy of Sunday. I felt like the only one there feeling the loss in my bones. And every time I forgot about it long enough to get some work done or have a conversation or laugh, I felt so guilty about it. Like I should be too deep in mourning for anything else to intrude, even though that’s not really possible. I feel like anything I feel isn’t good enough or strong enough for what has happened, and nothing I can say won’t sound trivial as soon as it’s spoken. So I hardly say anything about it.

    Anyway, a hard day. I hope tomorrow’s better for everyone.

  38. First place I saw the news was on the Guardian (UK) website Sunday morning, when there were no confirmed fatalities. By the time US news picked it up, there were twenty. I watched the live news conference when they upped the number of dead to fifty. There was an audible gasp among the reporters, and that’s about where I lost it for the day.

    Had planned to go into work, but I called in and just said I wasn’t going to make it. Sat and watched things unfold for hours, kind of shocked at how hard it hit me. All I could think was, it’s PRIDE month, some a$$hat shot up family on Pride month.

    Dragged out to lunch with a straight, oblivious friend, dragged out to work on Monday (avoiding most coworker interaction with long practice), still dragging along at oh-dark-thirty. I know it won’t be easier tomorrow. Still can’t talk about it without tearing up.

    I can’t imagine how much worse, how astronomically worse it must be for friends and family and the surviving victims.

    Stomping on my social anxiety and anti-religious sentiment tomorrow, and going to a vigil. I need to physically be part of the community right now, and that’s weird, because I never really needed that, before.

    • I’m finding I too need to physically be with the community right now which is very unusual for me to need. I unfortunately am in a pretty rural area and although it’s very liberal here and there are lots of LGBTQ people living here, there’s no real community that I’ve been able to find. I just want to be with my queer family. When tragedies happen we usually reach for family and I’m finding that mine is all far away.

      • ((hugs)) I hope you were able to connect with someone! It’s hard to be alone and dealing with this, especially around people who don’t quite get it. I’m not sure why I’m surprised at how many of us here feel so disconnected, whether physically or emotionally. Just another reflection of how great things AREN’T despite the progress that’s been made.

        We’re semi-rural, but with a good tourism board and lots of commuters moving in, so we’ve had a community come together over the past few years. It was great to see all the support we have (they were expecting enough people to crowd the church steps; they ended up having to block off the street to accommodate everyone). Still didn’t feel like enough. Now I’m just emotionally exhausted.

  39. I am so full of depression and rage right now I have no idea what to do with myself. I don’t know if it will ever go away. The fact that this is the country I live in right now terrifies me.

    I am currently living with my parents for financial reasons. I’m not out to them. My dad blasts Fox News all day long, so my entire house is filled with the sounds of Islamophobia and why we should have put even MORE guns in Pulse and solved everything like the Wild Fucking West. This is before they decided that doing a retrospective on Ronald Reagan’s involvement in the Cold War was more important. I would be working out a budget and scouting apartments to move into, but I only have the energy to scream all over Twitter and cry, since my Facebook is full of straight people talking about how we “shouldn’t politicize this” or posting prayer requests before going back to supporting anti-LGBTQ legislation and politicians the other 364 days of the year or putting rainbow filters on their profile pictures and moving on with their lives.

    All I want is to see people coming together to change this nation after a tragedy and instead I just get people fighting over hockey. I am numb. I want to get more involved with the queer community in my city, but my work is actively preventing that (not only because my schedule won’t allow me to do anything before 9pm on weeknights, which is when our vigil is, but I just found out that I can’t volunteer at the local AIDS clinic because of a conflict of interest with my employer). I want to donate blood, but I’m worried because having blood drawn always makes me so dehydrated. The last time I had bloodwork done, they drew maybe 5mL at most and I nearly passed out despite having eaten a full meal and drinking tons of fluids beforehand.

    I just have a lot of feelings right now and reading through this thread has been so cathartic for me.

    Reading this thread has been incredibly cathartic for me.

  40. Thank you so much for this thread. I hadn’t really had time to process as I was in the rush of a big meeting for work and cut myself off from social media to focus on it until now.

    I’m a bit shaken, but I also feel quite invisible… Back in November after the Paris attack a lot of people came to me or sent me messages here in the UK to ask how I was. And there was a lot of conversation with my family, friends, etc. And yet now, as I don’t necessarily come out to EVERYONE at work, and as I’m not out to my family, those questions aren’t asked. I want to shout “I’m here ! This affects me just as much as the Paris attack did ! Even more so maybe because this wasn’t a “random” target, a “this could haven’t happened anywhere / to anyone”.

    I also want to send out all my love and thoughts to the people of color within the community, and our muslim brothers and sisters, all of whom are even more erased and rendered invisible by the public discourse on “West/Us vs. Islam/immigrants/refugees” produced by the bigoted media.

    • I swore I replied to these the other day… hmmm…
      That feeling of invisibility is hard. So often, when we’re in pain, it’s very visible and people respond. Not having that is such a strange and isolating disconnect. I hope you’ve got some support up there in the UK, sending more hugs your way from back here in Franceland.

  41. So many people here write that they feel isolated in their grief at home with their non-chosen family or at work where nobody really understands. So do I.
    And it horrifies me to think that in the massacre there were possibly survivors who are not out to their family or roommates – people who they live with and who can be homophobic. So, those closeted people were either outed when they ended up in a hospital (and possibly put in danger of later violence from people they know) or had to go “home” in the night or in the morning and conceal all evidence that they were in the club that night. A shocked, scared and grieving person has to promptly and secretly clean their body and cover their bruises, and then smile while having a “civilized” morning meal. Or possibly even laugh at homophobic jokes told by their “family” members who are literally saying: “They got what they deserved”.
    I hope that nobody has to go through this. But it is possible. I know that, if this happened in my town, in our club, and somehow I survived, that would be my situation.

    • I hope that this tragedy helps to start to change more minds and hearts. The national coverage I’ve seen is mostly very loving (not sure that the right word. Maybe sympathetic?) rather than overtly homophobic. I’m hopeful that some good will come out of so much bad. But you’re right…there will undoubtedly be those who must hide their scars. I hope that they are able to find support in other survivors and continue to survive.

  42. I’m currently living abroad on my own, and on Monday morning, the day after we all got the news, I had to take my girlfriend to the airport because her two-week visit had come to an end. Yesterday was so horrible, and I am feeling really isolated and alone right now with my grief and anger and exhaustion. I am literally an ocean away from my queer friends and community and home. That’s a big reason why I stayed connected to facebook all day yesterday, because I needed to feel connected to something. And there were definitely supportive and respectful and grief-stricken posts from fellow queers and allies, which I needed to see. But there was also just so much awful – like a family friend who posted that she felt offended that the media kept saying it was a gay bar, and when I called that out she made the conversation about needing me reassure her that I don’t think she is a bad person. And so much Islamophobia. And on and on. I am so sad and so angry and so tired and so fried. This is just a really, really hard time to feel alone. I have no idea what to do with myself and all of these feelings, or where to find comfort. I’ve posted some thoughts because I thought that might help, but it has just ended up feeling like I’m launching my energy into the void that is the internet, and not so much like I’m finding the comfort or the sense of being-with-community that I so need right now. Seeing this open thread has helped some, and I am so thankful that this space exists.

    • It is so hard being an ocean away from your loved ones on a good day, and on days like this…
      The internet can’t replace physical presence, sometimes it even just makes you more aware of the distance. But it does help me too to see the support of all the amazing people on here.
      Sending love your way!

    • I am thankful this space exits too. I am so sorry you are not closer with a community, friends, or chosen family at this moment. And I know you don’t know me, but I am sending love and good vibes your way.

      And for everyone else in this thread as well.

    • I feel the same way. I moved to a rural area a year ago for a job that’s kept me pretty busy and I never connected with the sparse queer community here. All of my LGBTQ family is back in NYC and NJ and I’m feeling really isolated. I feel like I need to be at a vigil or a service or something with my community but all I’ve seen here is a protest against guns. I’m not ready for that kind of action. I’m still trying to process my grief. I’m still trying to deal with the knowledge that this could have easily been myself and my friends. I don’t go out to the clubs much anymore but Pride is the time of year when I do (when I’m not in a rural spot or finishing work for school- I’m a teacher). I’m grateful that my friends are safe but 49 family members lost their lives and it could have been me. Or my fiancé, or my ex, or my friends from home. They were celebrating freedom and life and love just like the rest of us do every June. My heart hurts so very much.

      • I am so sorry you are feeling so lonely and isolated and in pain like this, too. And as someone who comes from a rural area, I can also definitely understand feeling like there are no people and no spaces for you to find community in. My heart goes out to you. I hope that your people from back home are reaching out to you and checking in. Unfortunately that has not really been the case for me. But at least I have found some solace here.

  43. Well, hopefully a lesson drawn from this will finally make us reconnect with who we are, our sexuality, refocus and stand up for it once again – instead of habitually selling it down the river to an ideological hijack.

    Being gay and same sex attraction is a fundamental, non-negotiable part of us without which we fail to be ourselves – ideologies, belief systems and campaining on new types of idealised power hierarchies on the other hand are entirely optional and a frivolous choice.

    The violence every single time is directed at a site of same sex sexual activity – not at political radical camps or rallies, especially ones who would readily work with the religious fundamentalists on common goals of puritan mindset, normative sexuality and further marginalising of other groups.

    Do not lose the grip on facts. If you’re on receiving end on blind, biologically preprogrammed hate – it’s because you are attracted to same sex, not because you’re part of a culture or movement. There are no ‘greater causes’ that ‘will eventually fix ours in the future’ – every single one is a lie. There is only our cause – to end sexuality based hate and discrimination under a clear message that sexuality is NOT in the same league with systems of belief.

    I stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ folks in US in the face of the recent events.

  44. I’ve been reading AutoStraddle for a bit now. So I guess this would be my first comment. I really wish it could have been about something great for Pride.

    For the record, I am not out with my family. I am trans, but pretty much pre everything. I have two long distance BFFs who are my chosen family. They know.

    And we talked about this yesterday, and it just hurts. Not just as a trans woman, but as a human being. It just hurts that someone would just want to hurt others because they couldn’t see past a difference.

    And of course, I am scared to come out on a larger level (work, family, and other friends), but I felt to say something here, a place I really admire, and not come out would be just as bad.

  45. Honestly this has been so terrible that I’ve avoided safe spaces altogether, because I didn’t want to think about it more…but today I can manage to be here, and I’m grateful for this place, for everyone in our global LGBT community, for Autostraddle…massive love to all…

    If anyone needs some powerful music to process all of this pain, I recommend a piece I had the honor of performing recently – “Compassion” by Nigel Westlake. Nigel suffered the effects of a similar senseless murder, because his son was killed by a deranged woman on a night out with friends, out of the blue, very much like the Orlando tragedy. His music is gorgeous and empowering, and this piece is his response to enormous loss. If you choose to listen, may you feel peace surround you along with these notes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-hrR47VIx8

  46. Of course I’ve been concerned about my son’s safety ever since he came out to me as gay (and came out at school to a lot of people) when he was 12, which was 14 years ago. More so than I’ve worried about my own safety as a trans woman. It’s a dangerous world. And he never even told me until later about some of the things he had to deal with in high school, like people calling him a f-g, or sometimes has had to deal with just walking down the street.

    But I’ve never ever really worried about something like this happening in a safe place like a club. Now, I can’t stop myself from thinking about all this and imagining him in this situation — since I’m a terrible worrier to begin with –, and thinking about all those poor kids who were murdered, and their parents. I know that if my son had happened to be in Orlando, he very likely could have been at this club. Just like he was in L.A. on vacation for 10 days until Sunday night, and went to various places, or was in Miami last fall and went to different clubs. It’s always made me happy to think of him being out enjoying himself, and then to hear from him about what a good time he’s having. I talked to him a couple of times on Sunday, and I know how deeply sad he is about all this. He’s devastated. I know how lucky he is in general, for a lot of reasons, to have been born in 1990, rather than in, say, 1960. And having been “out” since he was very young, and being what might be called visibly gay, he’s not going back. But still. I wonder if he’ll ever feel like he used to.

  47. Thank you for this space. I went to the vigil in LA last night and felt love. This morning I feel anxious and scared again. I’m afraid people will expect me to behave like everything is fine, but it’s obviously not. Thanks for listening. Love to you all.

  48. Reading these comments has been helpful. Going back to work yesterday and moving about the world as if nothing had changed was difficult. And even though I have some awesome (straight) friends that wanted to check in and ask how I was feeling, the silence of those who didn’t was deafening. Part of me understands, because I know I’ve been the silent one out of fear/not knowing what to say. Never again. For me, one positive thing that’s come from the last two days is a reminder of the importance of community and not being silent and complacent while someone in your life endures, alone.

  49. Is anyone else feeling really disconnected from the regular world? Like my best friend keeps texting me about seeing so and so on the bus or like some Star Trek episode and I just can’t make myself care about any of that. And no one at work is talking about this at all, and I can’t really focus, and the only one of my FB friends really posting about it (besides all of you beautiful people who I’m friends with from camp)is my cousin who posted that she hoped it would provide a come-to-jesus moment for the survivors…and I don’t want to be *that person* who sucks the air out of the room for anyone else because everyone grieves and processes stuff like this in different ways but that’s where I’m at and I’m finding the real world pretty darn hard to face this week!

    • First of all, it’s terrible that your cousin is taking that idea away from this tragedy.

      I feel the same way… it’s really isolating to be the only one in my space that’s grieving and feeling impacted by the tragedy. I am a middle school teacher, and I teach in a school that is 90%+ Latinx, so while I am working, the only other people who are feeling the hurt are my baby queers that I already mentor so hard. Trying to help them and help myself and create a safe and loving space is taking everything I have mentally and emotionally and I don’t have the energy to deal with the rest of the world right now. Mundane stuff just can’t be a priority and it sucks that no one else here even appears to notice the struggle we are having.

    • I feel you. Aside from my dog (who knows somethings up, he has been extra cuddly), it has been hard to find energy to care about anything. I can’t focus on anything and I don’t want to talk to anyone who doesn’t at least share my anger.

      I just impulse bought a new (released today!) YA book though, so I am hoping to get lost in that now that I’m home from work. Resisted the urge to one-click by this other gay YA new release, but it might be a follow up if I can manage to focus on the first one.

      • my dog has been extra (and more insistently) cuddly as well. sunday night he pushed his way up from his normal spot at the foot of the bed to burrow his face into the spot below my chin and didn’t even roll over for tummy rubs, just sat there with his little body pressed against me, and i thought of the pets whose people weren’t coming home and i lost it again.

        reading is such a good thing, tho, isn’t it? last night i actually read one of my old Babysitter’s Club books, lol. Entirely juvenile and comforting.

    • I’m feeling really alone in my grief right now. I’ve been living in a rural area for a year and all of my queer family including my fiancé are back home. I usually deal with grief like this through connecting online and talking to friends but right now I feel like I need to physically be with my community because no one around me seems to get it (they’re all very sympathetic but they don’t get it) and I just want to hug my queer family and cry. This one hurts so much.

  50. Sharing love and solidarity with my chosen family here and on social media is getting me through. I wish comfort to all of you.

    Now I have 5 more minutes to stop crying before I teach 8th grade, so fingers crossed…

    • My school was having a celebratory end of year BBQ for faculty and their families yesterday and I was thankful for distraction. I had been bursting into tears all afternoon before it. I’m trying to remember that I’m alive and I should be embracing life. But I’m hurting so much.

  51. I feel sad when I see ppl saying this is a false flag to promote the gay agenda. Or that the gay mafia is trying to replace poc movements with the lgbt movement. Sometimes I believe in conspiracies but it’s sad that ppl think that a so called gay mafia would orchestrate this. Although there were reports of someone holding the door so ppl couldn’t escape. And did the seat team kill some ppl in the gun battle. And possible multiple shooters. I was feeling that I am gonna be as gay as possible now cuz ppl hate me for being gay. So fuck them lets piss them off by being true to ourselves as we have nothing to lose. Also i was thinking of a song by NaS called “Lifes a Bitch” where he says “im destined to live the dream for all my peeps who never made it” meaning that our brothers and sisters who have passed on would want us to be happy and the best way to honour them is be proud. But now, since the shooter was possibly lgbt, I feel kinda ashamed/embarrased that ‘one of our own’ did it. Even tho I know I shouldn’t feel like this. I guess in real life nothing is black and white. The shooter had complex reasons. Bi polar (i have mental health issues so im not saying these cause shootings) n steroids (which can cause aggressiveness and brain damage), his co-workers said he hated blacks and women and gays but some witnesses said he said he didn’t have an issue with blacks, ,,his wife might have known he was planning the attack,, his dad was homophobic,, his imam preached against gays (just like all religions mostly do), he pledged allegiance to Isis,, it’s a lot to try and make sense of. And a certain gossip website is all excited about ‘tea being spilled’ saying “I knew it! He was in the closet!’ Like it’s a fun game or sumn. It’s a lot to take in. Because of my mental health issues I am scared to read replies to my comments so sorry if you reply and I don’t respond.

  52. I don’t even know how to start this comment. I’ve been sick thinking about this since Sunday morning. I had been at Disneyland two days before, where everything is sunshine and churros, and then suddenly 50 people are dead and the rhetoric skews almost immediately to ISIS and Islam and gun control, and I just can’t fully wrap my brain around so many people not seeing this as a hate crime on a massive scale.

    I’ve been questioning my sexuality for over a year, and while I try to figure myself out and make some kind of decision, I’ve got a husband who loves me and would do anything for me. Part of me feels so lucky to be in this protective bubble of perceived heterosexuality, but a bigger part of me is disgusted by my own cowardice. Pulse was full of people living their lives authentically. They owned the risks of being out. Many of them lost their lives, but they weren’t hiding — they were bravely living their truth. And here I am, hiding behind my husband because I can’t accept that I don’t even know what it feels like to be genuinely sexually attracted to a man.

    I feel sick that someone could do this to anyone, let alone 50 people. Something like makes it so hard to want to come out. There are people out there that would kill me if they knew I was interested in women. Actually, literally end my life. I’m trying to continue moving forward on my journey of self exploration and understanding, but the shame I feel for being so cowardly when other people are so brave is making it very hard right now.

    I hope nothing like this happens ever again, but I think it would be naive to think that it won’t. :(

    • I just want to say – you are not a coward. You are a human being, (bravely!) trying to figure out something that so much of our culture conspires to prevent us from knowing. I am really glad you have at least one awesome person in your corner, because coming out/figuring shit out can still be really fucking hard, no matter what privileges you may have. So good for you.

  53. I’ve had all sorts of reactions to the Orlando massacre. It wasn’t until a friend reminded me that I had been in a mass shooting that I realized part of my reaction was due to that. It was a random event about two years ago. My friend (also an ex) and I were standing near some guys who were targeted.

    They may have been targeted at random as well. We heard the shots and the bullets screaming by. Three of the guys were hit as was my friend. Everyone survived. But, yeah, it qualified as a mass shooting, which I had never labeled as such in my head. My brain didn’t even let me connect those dots. That the Orlando massacre targeted LGBT people at an LGBT club was traumatic enough, but then being reminded there was something else it was triggering…without realizing it myself, was scary. I pinball between rage, despair, and numbness.

    So I spend my time thinking about the people who died and their loved ones, the queer latinx communities in Orlando, and broader LGBT communities in the U.S. and around the world. Much love to all of you.

    • Gretchen – I am sorry that this experience has triggered thoughts of another scary time in your life. I have been feeling a lot too, and remembered that this has just brought up all the losses in my queer community where I live: a man who was hit by a car and died in the pride parade, a young woman who committed suicide, the loss of a proposition that would have included sexuality and gender identity in our non-discrimination clause. As I’ve heard someone say before, loss always brings up previous loss. And this huge tragedy in our community just brings up all the other tragedies we have been through. I am sending love and healing your way.

  54. I’m not sure how to interact with the real world. I saw a person protesting outside of the local Planned Parenthood and I am so mad. I am so MAD that someone would even think that today would be a good day to be publicly hateful. How? I am so angry.They looked so smug and confident too, they knew what they were doing and it’s scary.
    I’ve been planning to visit my parents for a few days, starting tomorrow. Seeing my family is always challenging. But i’m really scared of being around family right now. I’ll be upset if they don’t say anything but I also don’t want to hear anything they have to say about it. Anything they say will probably be misguided and more harmful than anything else.

  55. thank you for this. this hurts, this is a spotlight on every unhealed area personally and socially, it is all i can think about. it’s been tough to find support in a sea of straight people.

    i want straight people to stop referring to “queers” in their messages of support because it’s still a slur and that hurts even more at this time, to see that obliviousness.

    i love y’all so much.

  56. I’m so glad this thread is up. Thank you AS. I haven’t been feeling much of anything when it comes to Orlando, except a sort of muted sadness, followed by anger. So A)I know the grief will probably smack me when I’m not expecting it, and B)how awful that this violence, in my country, is on some level no longer a shock. Fuck everything.

    I was fortunate to be at A-Camp last year, and one of the campers joined the ‘talent’ doing standup on comedy night. I am ashamed to say I don’t remember her name (it started with an L! Lydia? anyone else remember?). Her set, which drew in part on her experiences as a trans woman, was not only funny, but so sharp it cut. I don’t think I’d ever felt so viscerally the utter rage of recognizing that a seemingly vast section of ‘humanity’ wants to wipe you out of existence as I did during her comedy set. I should have thanked her for telling the truth so clearly, so directly. I hate that that is part of the truth about many of our lives.

    It’s hard for me not to sink into believing that the number of people out there who will not tolerate this kind of hatred and violence is too small in comparison to the number of people who not only tolerate, but even incite this kind of hatred and violence. God. This is so wrong, on so many levels.

    ..okay I may need to take a break and go watch that movie about horses and women loving women now.

  57. Thank you, Autostraddle, for this space. I need it so much, as someone who is still closeted. In the midst of my mourning and grief over this, I saw a post on my fb feed which said that bisexuals had no right to mourn or grieve this if they were in “straight marriages”. I wanted to vomit. Dear precious bi sisters, never ever forget. We are queer. Our queerness has *nothing* to do with the gender of our partner. Please, let us come together as a community instead of spewing hate and biphobia. Please. Please. Please. I am alternately numb and cannot stop crying. So grateful for AS today and every day.

  58. I can’t stop reading the news. I can’t stop reading the comments. I had a nightmare for the first time in years and ground my teeth so hard I thought I was going to chew through my bite guard. My entire body hurts.

    I feel sick and depressed and can’t get anything done. I know I need to walk away from this for a while, but it’s like, I have to know. I have to.

    I knew how hateful people were, but mostly I was insulated from it. Now though, I just feel defeated. The ignorance, and bigotry, and hatred is coming from every corner and I thought we were doing better, I thought we had more allies.

    At the same time I’m so sorry for the POC and trans community who have to deal with this so often. I’m sorry, I knew it was shitty and I was empathetic, but I didn’t know how it felt. Now I do. And I’m sorry.

  59. I had a therapist appointment Monday morning and I felt like I couldn’t talk about how this affected me at all becausehen I gathered all my courage and came out to her a while back, her response was “are you happy being monogamous? yes? ok, moving on.”

    Uggggggggggggggh

    I did feel better after the vigil in Seattle but it’s sort of a fragile “better.”

    • Ugh, is it just me or have you encountered a lot of straight people in Seattle acting like being lgbtq “doesn’t matter” yet it ends up feeling a whole lot more like erasure/not acknowledging how this actually affects us?

      • That experience was for sure erasing. It’s like FUCK YOU I AM BI. JUST BECAUSE I’VE BEEN WITH MY NOW-HUSBAND FOR OVER A DECADE DOES NOT MAKE ME ~*~STRAIGHT~*~. ffffffffffff *ahem* I have a lot of feelings.

        I haven’t discussed the shooting or what’s going on with me wrt it with any streeple that I’m out to irl. My dad, who I’m out to, hasn’t checked in with me or anything. Though, tbf, he might have forgotten (again) that I’m queer. (In his defense he was kinda drunk, more so than I realized, when I told him the first time and his memory is kinda terrible in general.)

  60. I’ve been putting off feeling anything about Orlando. It was like hearing the news turned off this switch inside of me, and said, “you cannot bear this right now, feel it later.”

    It’s later now, and I am shaking thinking about it all. I am hurt, and I am angry, and I am scared.

    I went to a candlelight vigil on Sunday night. I’ve never been to one before, and I didn’t know what to expect. Even if I did, I don’t think that I would have realised how much I needed to be there. I needed the support of the people around me so badly. A friend gave me a hug and asked me how I was doing. “Fine,” I whispered, even though it was a lie. I need that support again, and so I am grateful for this thread.

    I am not doing fine. I am going crazy inside my skull because there is nothing I can do. There is nothing that I can do to make this right, and I need to make things right. My social media feed is sporadically sympathetic, but mostly it’s like nothing happened. I want my friends to care, I need them to care. I need them to reach out, and talk to me. I need to cry into their shoulders. I need them to stand beside me, carrying rainbow banners and telling the world that they will not allow the world we live in to be a place where this could happen again. They aren’t there, and I think it’s my fault.

    I turned away from my church when I came out last month. I couldn’t handle their old-fashioned views on homosexuality anymore, and so I left not knowing where the loving God I once knew is anymore. I need friends, and I need God, and I don’t know where to turn to find them.

    How could someone do this? How can we live in a world where we are still fighting for basic rights in countries that brag about being free, and about how all are equal? I feel ashamed, and disgusted, and sick.

    • I don’t know where you live, but Metropolitan Community Church is a queer-centric Christian church that has congregations lots of places. It’s been a wonderful, faith and identity affirming place for me.

      I’m actually kinda pissed with myself for not going to church on Sunday, I can’t help thinking that I might be in a better place for having gone.

    • I’ve been following this queer pastor on twitter, I recommend checking out her tweets or perhaps reaching out for resources.

      I hope you find a friend you can reach out to. I’ve been angry with my straight friends for not reaching out, but I know they do care and just don’t have any idea how much this hurts. They’ve grown so used to a daily massacre that they don’t realize how for us this is something else. I’m lucky that I know they are accepting and I’ve been out to them for a long while now, but I also wish they were more supportive without me having to ask or explain why right now.

      In any case, we’re all here for each other. Hugs.

  61. I don’t comment on here that much, always reading but never commenting. I felt moved to comment tonight.

    I’m scared.
    I’m disgusted.
    I’m shocked.
    I’m heartbroken.

    So many emotions. I came out to my mom 6 years ago. She has embraced me completely. She loves my wife. She told me today that this has ‘thrown her for a loop’. She said she wasn’t immune to the idea that it still isn’t safe for the LGBT community in this country. But she embraced me so much and my wifes family embraced us so much she felt like we were in a bubble. She is now scared. She didn’t want us to go to vigil that was in our area on Sunday (we didn’t end up going due to being emotionally exhausted by the days events). I feel like she is reverting back to me being a child, terrified. I feel like I need to console my own mother and reassure her that I’ll be fine…but I can’t do that. Because I don’t know. My wife and I tend to shy away from PDA in public. We don’t frequent gay bars that often mostly because we don’t drink. But it’s terrifying. I feel like I need to go see a counselor due to these fears I am having but what will a counselor do for me? They can’t keep us safe.

    I feel like I need a media black-out but I can’t tear myself away from it. I listen to the survivors stories today, cried at my desk at work. I’m the only gay person in my entire office. I walk in to work on Monday, everyone is cheery, ‘how was your weekend?!’, big smiles. I wanted to scream ‘DON’T YOU KNOW THEY ARE KILLING US?’

    But I can’t do that. I’m not a religious person anymore but I actually considered going to the gay friendly church in St Louis on Sunday. Just for some sort of solace. My wife and I sit on our computers, with our TV on, consuming everything we can about this story. My wife cries. I rant and rave. I make smart ass comments about Donald Trump.

    But nothing makes me feel better. I’m just at a loss. I’m so grateful for my community. I’m so grateful for this website and for the people here, even if I don’t ever talk to any of you.

  62. It just keeps crossing my mind that it could’ve been anyone of us here..people I care about more than most know. People I know from Camp from this site..in real life. All just because we love someone. All because we are part of a certain community. Because two men decided to share a kiss. A kiss in a space that we call safe. A space designated as ours. I feel that it was so unfair to happen over Pride weekend..a time when we celebrate a period where we stood up for ourselves and fought for basic human rights.

    That’s why I ask straight people…DO YOU STILL WANT A STRAIGHT PRIDE?

  63. i rarely reach out but i need to say something. i was assaulted on the street on sunday. because i “look queer.” because i am queer. because violence emboldens others to be violent.

    i took care of myself. i thought i’d be ok. i talked to a friend. then tonight the little boy i live with came up behind me and scared me and i jumped out of my skin and burned myself with a pan of bacon grease and then i had a panic attack and now i am sitting here typing this with one hand. i am so angry. and hurt. and the ice is melting.

    • taking care of ourselves is never done, even sometimes when we think it is. don’t be too hard on yourself. also bacon grease is the worst and i feel for you so maybe start with that (and eating said bacon)

    • This might seem like I’m not acknowledging what happened to you but:
      DON’T USE ICE, 2 extremes are not good for the tissues.
      If you have any blisters don’t pop them.
      You can totally use an antibiotic ointment.
      For pain use something like ibuprofen or aspirin
      And use a band-aid, or if it’s a large burn use burn dressing not tightly tape or wrapped bandage. You don’t want any pressure on the wound and not just cause it’ll be uncomfortable.
      Also did you wash the area off b/c grease can hang around and the name of the game is avoid infection

      Not a doctor but I’ve been burned by probably everything at this point and was at some point certified in first aid. Once I got a mild chemical burn from my own puke and I’ve been on actual fire twice.

      I’ve never been assaulted by a stranger for anything past middle school, but I have been physically assaulted and something worse ( specifically attempted second degree murder) by a sibling for back talking because he viewed, heck still views, me as a non-person and a waste of space. I had to live in the same household as him for years.

      The startle response and stuff that can happen after panic attack or in some cases like mine going into fight or flight response.

      It lessens over time.

      How much time? I can’t tell you I’m not you, but I can tell you getting help and talking to somebody will help you. I didn’t get help or really have anyone to talk about stuff with and I sunk myself into a hole that I’m still trying to climb out of get very frustrated with.
      Don’t try to go this alone you don’t have and look you’re not.
      You’re here on AS with people who’ve been there or support you, and you have at least one friend available to talk.

      It’s okay there is nothing wrong with having a startle response like you did and it will lessen with time.

  64. Like all of us I’ve seen many violent tragedies in the news but they’ve never made me feel like this made me feel and I’m scared that I’m going to do the wrong thing. That rather than take the pain and the anger and find a way to be stronger from it and make a difference that I’m going to retreat, and hide, and be more afraid the rest of my life. I’m more afraid of that than I am of the things that could actually happen to me if I became more bold.
    It’s this threshold of fear that I am scared I won’t pass.
    This event seems so much more than it is in facts. It’s all the microagressions that each of us face every day that in themselves don’t cause much hurt or anger but the sum of them is enough to drive a person to hopelessness and to value themselves less because of all the small times our culture says to us “you are not wanted. If you must exist, do so quietly so I can pretend you don’t”
    Fuck I’ve stopped liking shit on Facebook because I’m afraid my red neck coworkers will see I liked it and will confront me at work about being “a fucking liberal”
    How messed up is that? I can’t even like a queer article on a social networking site without being afraid I will be ostracized at work.
    And I blame myself for being a coward probably rightly so but shouldn’t I also be furious at them for making me feel like that’s how it’s gotta be?
    I don’t know what to do. I’ve got to be more of myself. But I’m afraid and this event only amplifies that fear and crushes my hope that I cling to that things can be better for all of us.

    • Just wanted to let you know that I hear you. And I get what you are saying. And yes, it is the fault of fear and hatemongers or people who are too closed minded not to be open to differences that you (and many others) are scared of being themselves. It is not your fault, it is theirs. And it is not cowardly to be scared of negative reactions. I am pretty sure everyone is. It is only natural to want to protect yourself from pain and hurt, isn’t it? Don’t be so hard on yourself for that.

      I don’t know how to deal with not being able to like stuff on social networking sites though. Everything is complicated there. That is one of the reasons why I don’t frequent those sites.

      But whatever you choose to do, be kind on yourself. And may you have friends around you who support you!

  65. I came on here for comfort. Thank you AS because I absolutely got it. I’ve been crying off and on since this happened, its coming in waves. My partner is experiencing the pain completely differently so I thought maybe I was crazy to feel so deeply, viscerally alone. Looks like there’s a whole lot of us going through that.

    At first that shared experience made me feel so calm- better than I’ve felt in a few hours. But then I kept scrolling and reading all of our brilliant reflections and I thought FUCK. All these AMAZING humans are hurting and feeling alone when we are seriously what this world needs more than anything. The fact that we are all out here hurting and processing the embodiment of violent homophobia and hate is insane. I haven’t felt ready to “act” yet, just sad, but this is getting me there.

    On a different note- mostly straight spaces were given up to “process” and “acknowledge” at work both today and yesterday for me and both times I could not look up and I felt even more alone and angry. I feel guilty about that- should I be grateful these people gave the space or angry for feeling like they were waiting for me to be a spectacle? Or the fact that some people who chose to speak acted like these events were just the media or “out there” and they just needed to turn them off to find peace? I CANT TURN THIS OFF ITS REAL FOR ME SO OMFG IDK WHAT TO SAY

    • “waiting for me to be a spectacle” This. I went to a thing today, and I found myself unable to even experience my own feelings in response to (the very elogquent) speakers because a camera kept panning in my direction. I have an anxiety disorder so I thought maybe it was just me. Thanks for this comment.

  66. my GIRLFRIEND just said, “Why are you still so upset? More people died in the Bataclan and you didn’t have this much trouble.”

    and I just stared at her and did not scream, so I have more self control than expected.

    but I just can’t… the lack of comprehension of both what I am feeling right now and how much I *was* hurt and upset by the attack in Paris is just entirely beyond me. Thank goodness my dog is here.

  67. the amount of anger, frustration and hopelessness I feel upon some comments by straight people regarding this surprises me. I think society does not allow us to grieve for our community, and is reluctant to call this a homophobic attack. I have never felt the thought “I hate straight people” this strongly till these days. I have never had this much violence in my heart. How DARE they to comment defending homophobic Christians and telling me that, by focusing on the fact that many religious people of differing religions are homophobic, I am DISCRIMINATING against poor heterosexual Christians, because I never “asked any Christian if they’re homophobic” wtf seriously do I have to educate you on the church’s homophobia?? How DARE they say these things after this happened. How dare they be offended and twist history like that. I don’t understand.

  68. I just have to say. Thank you! Thank you so much for all these Posts and the solidarity. I was on vacation with my mum when the Shooting happened and afterwards all the News stations talking about it. And my mum just went “do they still Report about that?” with such disgust that I just wanted to crawl in bed and cry. I had my 5 minutes of crying under the shower then. But it was really hard – especially because she knows I’m gay, and she’s just not accepting it, which is fine by me by now. But such comments hurt, especially after such horrible days.
    So thank you all for being there and just sharing your love.

  69. I’m glad this is here. I wish my first comment was under happier circumstances.

    I’m exhausted and sad and angry. The public vigil I went to was filled with laughing high schoolers taking selfies and (seemingly) straight passer by who kept taking my picture but didn’t seem interested in mourning or showing solidarity at all. The speakers kept using exclusively Christian language and then made a grab for some local political power.

    Even in a crowd of people I felt very, very alone. And I felt even more angry.

    It’s Pride month…first they try to profit off of my love and now they are tying to profit from my grief and pain. I refuse.

  70. I’ve come and read through all the comments on this post multiple times to remind myself I’m not alone. I have local support, but it’s mostly allies, my LGBT friends are spread out, far away, and my lady love is on the other side of the country. I would not be coping half as well if not for this. Thank you, all of you. I love you guys.

  71. I’ve only told one other person this besides y’all: I was at Pearl in Houston (our lesbian bar) on Saturday night. They had a guest DJ in from Denver. I was dancing with lots of people (as one does when the music’s pumping and she plays Prince and Whitney Houston and Rihanna). When I left at 1:30, I wonder why there were three(!) HPD cruisers in the parking lot.

    Then I got my post-drinking tacos and saw the news on my Twitter feed.

    I drive home numb, because that absolutely could’ve been me. I’m not even out to my family – they would’ve found out from the medical examiner. And now I’m angry, and scared, and so many other conflicted emotions.

    I will definitely be going to Pride this year as a big “FUCK YOU” to the assholes of the world.

  72. Disposability. That word keeps coming to my mind whenever I think of the Orlando shooting. The disposability of brown bodies, queer bodies, migrant bodies, and the ways that this shooting has reminded me- with gut wrenching clarity- that it is dangerous to be in my body. That there are those who think I am disposable. I am filled with rage- about the murders, and about the fact that there’s no time to properly mourn. I feel inundated by Facebook posts and instagram and news articles and politicians talking just to hear their own voices. Even the vigil I attended turned into a publicity rally for the governor and his cronies. Is there any place untouched by the noise? Any place a sad brown queer can sit and cry in peace?

  73. Hey everyone. Sorry for the disappearing trick in this thread that I pulled. I meant to stay in longer and throw my voice out this thread.

    I am on vacation. Have been since the 9th. Currently, I am okay. But I am allowing myself to cry if need be.

    Not being out (I am trans, female pronouns, but pre-HRT), makes it hard for me to see a way to come out. Outside of a forum like this or Facebook. I am not out to family (pro-Trump mostly, and big watchers of Fox News, I am not), but I do have two friends, plus a kick ass therapist, who know the whole of me.

    But I do still feel alone. And it is hard because awful terrible things like this are designed to do that. I’m sorry if these words are not coming out well. I have been trying to articulate my thoughts and I am just so scrambled.

    I am happy for my vacation and time away from my family. I am saddened and hurt by this attack because of what it means for those involved, the LGBTA+ community going forward, the Muslim community going forward, gun control, and way more. So I have being using the time I have to find my voice so to speak. Been lurking on this thread, which has helped. It is assuring to see that I am not the only one confused, mad, sad, and hurt by this.

    Hope you are well and safe today.
    With love,
    Sarah

  74. I don’t know how much people in the US follow UK news, but yesterday a Labour MP was shot and killed whilst serving her constituents. I know this isn’t linked to what happened in Orlando, but as both a bisexual woman, and a member of Labour party considering standing for election I just feel so attacked on both sides. Like none of my identities are safe. And my heart aches for a world where there is so much hatred for people just because they are themselves, just because they want to make the world better, just for existing. Sorry for mentioning something that’s not about queer lives directly, I just needed to be in a place where I can say both of these things hurt me, and to me, they feel like they are related, because the world just seems like an angry and hurtful place right now.

    • I am starting to think we all need to wear kevlar under our shirts. It’s terrifying, and I don’t blame you for being scared. I hope there is some comfort to be had in talking about it, but I know that there’s nothing that makes it fully go away.

  75. It’s been days and it doesn’t feel like this is getting any easier. The more I hear, the more I read, the more I see their faces and hear their names, the more heartbroken I feel. The more this hurts so damn deeply.

    A club where I live had a vigil/fundraiser tonight. I wanted to go. I wanted to pay my respects and help fundraise for the victims and the staff of Pulse. But I couldn’t go. I’m terrified. Every moment of every day now. I was already scared. I was already hiding myself. Now, I feel even less safe to be who I am.

    I’ve already stopped dating. I rarely, if ever, tell anyone I’m gay. I know the stakes.

    Every time I stupidly think things are starting to get better or I start to feel safe, I’m reminded of how unsafe it really is.

    I’m not a gay person of color or trans, so I’m sure I haven’t had it as bad as some people. I am disabled and gay though, which presents its own challenges. However, it makes me very empathetic to other minorities within the LGBT community. I can’t imagine the pain and isolation many people are feeling on a daily basis and how that’s likely been amplified by this tragedy.

    I want to feel safe. I want others to feel safe. I don’t understand why there is so much hate in this world. It’s so much easier to love people than to hate them. I love you all. Each and every one of you for your individual uniqueness.

    I don’t know…I’m rambling. I don’t really have anyone else to talk to, and the pain is overwhelming.

    • Hi. I don’t really know what to say except that I’m still here too and I’m scared too and I hear you. I’m… not exactly not out, but most people I know just assume that I’m straight and I don’t correct them. So. It’s been a lonely week. And I feel like as a white, cis lesbian who doesn’t go to clubs, generally passes as straight, etc. I should be past the hurting point by now and on to the angry, activism point (especially for the sake of all of the minority groups within our community that have it so, so much worse than I do), but I’m really not. Today is Pride in my city and I really want to be there right now, but I don’t do well with crowds, so instead I’m just sitting at home feeling generally shitty about myself and everything. Anyway, now I’m rambling too, but I just wanted you to know that I’m still listening and that it’s okay that we’re both still hurting and that we’re going to be okay. <3

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