Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It still hurts -- and that's okay. #OrlandoUnited #LGBT #suicide

It's been an equally inspiring and heartbreaking week and a half since Orlando. So many people have stepped forward to mourn with us. Some have already stepped away again, ready to shift the conversation to something else.

The problem is, many LGBTs aren't ready to trade the real topic for one that's loosely related and easier for other people to comprehend. This isn't about them. It's about us.

I think this is one of those moments that marks the distinction between allies and the Rainbow Community. I don't like the term 'outsiders' because it implies they aren't part of our world and haven't been walking with us for years. At the same time, Orlando and its ripples are things that can only be understood by those who have experienced this kind of hatred before and have the scars to prove it. Some allies know what I mean. Some can only stand on the sidelines and watch, not comprehending how the death of strangers can hobble so many people.

Personally, I'm still at the phase where my frustration tolerance is exceptionally low, and I break into tears at random moments for no particular reason. I know I'm not the only one. Past hurts are oozing to the surface for a lot of people, unearthed by the horrific act that mimicked that past in too many ways to ignore.

The hateful (and predictable) rhetoric the pro-LGBT press reports with such glee doesn't help. We don't need reminders that certain factions wish us dead with every breath, pray for it, dream of it, and celebrate the violence when someone dares to bring that fantasy to life. That's not news. We know they exist and can list half their names. But clicks outweigh compassion, so we get misleading headlines designed to inspire outrage, and reports of every dickweed with a video camera, puking hatred all over the internet.

If you've been dodging the news and haven't seen them, you're not missing anything. It's not even worth a link. The inevitable whining by the offenders, claiming to be the true victims in this scenario when someone offers to shove their microphone up their ass won't be either. I think we all know the routine by now.

The point of this post isn't to rant. (If it were, I've done a piss poor job of it!) The point is if you're still upset and emotionally raw you're not alone. Don't assume you have to hide what you feel because others who don't understand your pain say it's time to move on. 

It's okay to hurt. Mourning flows at its own pace, and there's little you can do to rush it. Whether it's the loss of a friend at Pulse, the nagging fear that you're not as safe as you thought, the demonstration of what so much free-floating anti-LGBT rhetoric can do, or some part of your past seeping out of the lockbox where you keep it, it's okay.

You're allowed to cry. You're allowed to hurt. You're allowed to be a little out of your head sometimes, as long as it stops there. 

Tragedy begets tragedy in our community and I'm not prepared to see this get worse. A lot of people are taking Orlando personally, and it's getting to them. If you need help understanding why you feel what you feel or finding a semblance of hope in your personal tar pit, please reach out to someone. Call an LGBT crisis hotline. Call a friend. Show up at Pride and burst into tears. I guarantee an instant group hug because we're all still a little messed up. We'll cry right along with you. 

(for all ages)

(for those 24 years and under)

(for all ages)

(for all ages)

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