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Will the Deadliest Mass Shooting in U.S. History Stop Us? No.

By Riley Silverman | News Stories | June 12, 2016 |

By Riley Silverman | News Stories | June 12, 2016 |

I’ve already cried a few times today. I’ve been angry. I’ve been numb. I heard the news of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at 2 a.m. and have had this loss hovering over me since then. I want so hard to just scream at the world. I have wanted revenge and justice. I’ve wanted to personally harm everyone online who has crafted hateful responses about how we deserve this because of how we live.

But that’s not going to make me feel better. That’s not going to protect others. That’s not going to bring those 50 lives back or heal the injured.

Already I’m seeing not just the hateful victim blaming, but people who yesterday would just as soon have spit on someone like me using our tragedy as a way to fan the flames of their own hatred of Muslims. This cannot be how we react to this. Hate is not going to be the solution for hate. We need love. We need people to wake up and understand that the ugliness here is homophobia and transphobia. It’s hate. We need people to face the reality that has come from rhetoric that has boiled over.

And in an immediate sense, we need people in the Orlando area to donate blood. The queer community is largely barred from donating blood because of institutional prejudices based on the same archaic fears that led to this attack. We’re prohibited today from being able to give needed blood to help our own injured. (Lifts on those bans are being reported as false; we’ll keep you updated.) We need your help.

I’ve been at a creativity retreat all weekend. This morning before breakfast, Jonathan Van Ness who does the “Gay of Thrones” recaps came up and hugged me. We just met yesterday and had only spoken for a total of probably 20 minutes. “I’m just checking in with all my people,” he said.

That’s the thing those with hate in their hearts don’t understand. We are a people. We are a culture, a community. We’re not a lifestyle, we’re not a deviance. We’re a family. This community is built on love, and we are each other’s power. Our community won’t forget this. This is a wound we’ll carry. But it will not stop us. You cannot bully us into submission.

We’re here. We’re staying.

Image credit: Steve Nesius/Reuters