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Pulse Nightclub and the Queer Agenda: Love

June 22nd, 2016     by deb singh     Comments

Illustration by Erin McPhee

Content Warning: References to Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre.

I think I know why U.S. and Canadian media outlets need to call the Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre, the “the deadliest shooting in U.S. history, with 50 (sic) people killed, 53 others injured and the gunman dead in a shootout”.

Because America loves violence.

Image via Daily Titan

To read more about what went down.

Hear me out: They actually love it. I recently read a post that said that guns are part of American culture. That is hella correct but not something to be romanticized and perpetuated.

Since the June 12th massacre in Orlando, Florida’s Pulse Night Club with Queer Black, Latinx and people of colour being murdered and injured, there have been countless posts, memes and articles swimming on my newsfeed and playing out in my head. People want to talk about this in the context of colonial violence;

Image via Imgur

we want this violence, that was pointedly targeting Queer Black and Latinx people of colour to be acknowledged as such…

Image via Facebook

… and that white supremacist colonial systems of power have been and are going to continue to blame Muslim people and their faith for the violence that occurred. It would be a further travesty to perpetuate more violence on even more queer people of colour and Muslim communities.

Image by the Antimedia via Kappit

My heart has been heavy with sadness and rage. It’s Pride month in Toronto; both the Trans and Pride flags are en masse at City Hall. This is a month that’s triggering for my partner and I – between booze, drugs, exes, parties, and friends; it’s my favourite kind of hot mess. It’s also the time of the year where I can be free. Like all my “professional gay” work can take a break and I can just enjoy being queer.

My mother was raised Christian because of colonial systems working in Trinidad to convert many Muslims and Hindus at the time of her growing up. One had to be baptized a Christian to get a good job in Trinidad in the 60s and my mom, and all of her siblings, left Islam behind. My mother’s maiden name is Mohammed. Although I am not a practicing Muslim, Islam is in my mother’s blood, my blood.

Prince sang in one of his last recorded hits, Baltimore: “If there ain’t no justice, there ain’t no peace”. You ain’t never gonna hear me equate justice with jail time. It’s not the kind of justice we want as Queer, racialized people. I have this poster in my office that reads:

Image provided by deb singh

The kind of justice we want is Love. We want to be free to love who we choose. We want love to be a response to fear. We want to love ourselves to liberation. We want to share that love with people who are privileged over us through our celebrations, because Queer people of Colour know how to throw a party. We want love to be the way so queer people don’t have to hate themselves so much that they self-harm and harm others. We want love to be paramount.

Because we don’t love violence. We ebb and flow between our queer identities and so many others that we do a balancing act of privilege and oppression, just like everyone else. But queer folks - we - are about love.

And our love is bigger than the violence against us.

Image via NY Daily News

Further Links:

Toronto Vigil on June 12, 2016

List of Victims of Orlando Pulse Nightclub Shooting

The Current Radio show – LGBTQ Muslims Brace for Backlash

Black Lives Matter Statement

Pride Toronto Increases Security

Tags: media, queer, race, violence

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