(edited to reflect new information; 11/21/22)
Once again, my people have been attacked. Several members of the queer community were shot and killed at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado late Saturday night. On Sunday’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, news came out that at least one of the people killed in the mass shooting was a transgender man, so we add another name to the list of more than 30 transgender people killed in the United States so far this year. There is a month and a half to go. A day later it appears two of the victims were transgender, one was a gay man, and two were allies, so we will also add those names to the roll call of queer people killed by hate. Others are still in critical condition at area hospitals.
As a gay man I am filled with deep feelings of sadness today. Memories of the Pulse Nightclub massacre flash back into my head. Memories of my murdered friend, Earl, rise up. Memories of Matthew Shepard, Billy Jack Gaither, Harvey Milk all come back. We have seen this story. We have witnessed this hatred before. We live in a world where there are no safe spaces for queer people because hatred against us is tacitly, and oftentimes blatantly, encouraged, often by politicians and others who should be protecting the rights and dignity of all.
As a queer person in 2022, I should be afraid to be out and open about who I am. But I will not be cowed by cowards like the shooter in Colorado Springs. I will not–ever–go back in the closet out of fear. I kicked that door down and will not go backwards. I spent the first 21 years of my life living in fear of what other people might think, how it might affect my employment, how I might suffer violence by being open. I will not go back. This is who I am and if you don’t like it that is your problem, not mine. A big fuck you to pretend Christians who say I should die, to anyone who says I can’t bring it out of my house, and onto the street. That’s where I differ.
Instead, I demand better of our supposed leaders. I demand common sense gun laws. I demand the equality that is promised in our Constitution, and I will fight to my last breath to get it. On this day of another mass shooting and on this Transgender Day of Remembrance, I recommit myself to continue working toward equality, dignity, and safety for all.