Join Prism Book Alliance® as JP Barnaby goes Outside the Margins today.
I look into the window of my mind
Reflections of the fears I know I’ve left behind
I step out of the ordinary
I can feel my soul ascending
I am on my way
Can’t stop me now
And you can do the same
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
— Proud, Heather Small
My soul hurts, there’s really no other way to describe it. Something in me has been torn by the events of June 12th in Orlando, and they won’t be right again. Not because I knew anyone murdered or injured there, not because I’d ever been to that club, but because I watch those images splattered across the news and know that open season has been declared. Terror attacks aren’t isolated events, once someone says “hey, it’s okay to kill gays, they’re not really people anyway”, the bloodshed will start in earnest. It may not be at the level of Orlando because people will be more aware—but it will be more pervasive and more often.
The other idea trapped in my head, an image I can’t dispel, is that it could have been us. It could have been Jungle, or Blake’s, or The Eagle. It could have been me. It could have been 50 of the people I love most. It could have been anywhere.
And now, news has been released that the monster who did this is a self-hating gay, which means they’re just going to stand in their pulpits and say we brought it on ourselves. Not that they weren’t saying that before, but now it won’t be viewed as a terror attack, but an internal problem. They won’t care that it’s a gay-hating society that causes internalized homophobia. They can’t understand what it’s like for the world around you to teach you to hate yourself. All they know now is that some gay guy went and killed a bunch of other gay guys, and now there are less gays to bitch about marriage. And who do I mean by “they”? Dicks like Donald Trump who think because they were born rich, white, and male they’re entitled to the whole fucking world. “Christians” like Dan Patrick who think that we deserved this attack because “you reap what you sow”.
Unfortunately, it’s not just “them”.
I’ve seen posts by people in our LGBT community who think that bisexuals who are in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex shouldn’t come to pride because we don’t suffer. (Try being marginalized by both sides of the sexuality fence and then come and talk to me.) I read an article yesterday by a woman who wanted our straight allies to march to her tune before they could come to pride. Then we have the commercialization of pride and that whole argument. Well, in light of the guy in LA who was bringing an arsenal to pride, and it sure as hell wasn’t to protect us, why would you tell anyone not to come to pride?? Our straight allies are going to be standing right next to us when those shots are fired. They’re going to be standing in front of us. They’re going to be grabbing hold of us and telling us to run. To get down. To be safe. Why? Not for the glory – that’s for damned sure – but because in their hearts, it’s the right thing to do. Because to them WE ARE WORTH THE FIGHT. And what do they get in return? “You’re not good enough.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m scared. I was cautious before—always having a couple guys walk me out of the club, being only as affectionate with a woman as girls generally are—but now, I’ll be looking over my shoulder for that glint of a gun barrel. We are halfway through pride month. How many right-wing extremists are going to get it into their heads that it’s okay to use us for target practice? At pride, we make a pretty big colorful target.
Another part of me is furious—so fucking angry that I feel this way. I like girls, so fucking what? Why should that make me frightened, especially at Pride? Pride is OUR time. We fought for it, the generations before us BLED for it. It’s the one place where we can go and truly celebrate who we are as a community and as a culture. We cannot let them take that from us. We cannot let them take our very self-definitions. Without those, how can we band together to fight back? To make it safe for us to exist? To tell them that we will not go gently into that good night.
Atlanta Pride is in October, and I will be there—leather on—pride out.
I will rage against the dying of the light.
About JP BarnabyJP Barnaby, an award-winning gay romance novelist, is the author of over two dozen books, including Aaron and the Little Boy Lost Series. She recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta to appease her Camaro who didn’t like the blustery winters. JP specializes in recovery romance, but slips in a few erotic or comedic stories to spice things up. When she’s not hanging out with hot guys in leather, she binge watches superheroes and crime dramas on Netflix. A physics geek, she likes the science side of Sci-Fi, and wants to grow up to be Reed Richards.
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