Reactions to the shooting at the Pulse in Orlando, FL have been varied. For those who are grieving, some people quickly roll through the stages of grief and some linger in one or the other or feel all at once.
I've asked my colleagues and general network to respond to the shooting and some took me up on it. I asked them how they wanted to be cited, with their websites or not, and their roles or not. I lay out their responses here and welcome your respectful responses to their thoughts and feelings.
As a Queer Latina I am heartbroken by the senseless violence perpetrated against my LGBTQ community members in Orlando. I am astounded by both the hatred and the glaring silence I am observing on social media. Meanwhile, I am witnessing my LGBTQ friends equally shaken. We are all feeling the burden of this brutality.
I always live with some level of hyperawareness towards possible danger when I am with my lesbian partner. Living in the SF Bay Area affords me some sense of comfort and acceptance. Until this weekend.
We are in Pride Month, and I feel afraid to go to the Dyke March and other Pride events. I am uncomfortable going out in such a vulnerable state. My partner wants to go. I am afraid for her life. The Dyke March was so significant in my coming out, finding my self-acceptance as a young 20 something. I distinctly remember the exhilaration I felt the first time I stepped into a club similar to Pulse, when I was 19 years old. I couldn't place it at first, and then realized that I suddenly felt both safe and accepted for the first time in public spaces. I was in queer space and I could breathe. It was a pivotal age, my early 20's...The same age as many of those whose lives were taken on Sunday morning.
As a psychologist, I understand vicarious trauma, and yet am almost startled by the profundity of my grief, outrage, invisibility, and a pervasive sense of being unsafe.
Yesterday I was out to lunch with my partner and I smiled at her and touched her arm. I suddenly felt fear. I jerked my hand away & wanted to cry. I am afraid for us. I am afraid for our children. I am afraid for our friends and chosen family.
At a Pride dance on Sunday, I cried. I was able to feel a little joy and thought "I love dancing with my friends." Then I was overtaken by an image of someone walking into our queer space to kill us. I thought about the horror of witnessing my friends being gunned down. I wept on the dance floor as my friend, dressed in black, wearing a handmade rainbow tu tu held me. If you don't understand how a bar or club or other queer gatherings act as safe space, a sanctuary, you've probably never been afraid to hold someone's hand in public. I'm afraid to touch my partner in public.
I am somehow startled at my sleepless nights. My dreams full of the faces of my LBGTQ brothers and sisters who were gunned down in hatred.
I feel alone and unseen by the rest of the world who seems to be moving on.
As a therapist, I am naturally inclined to help others. And yet I notice that my straight clients do not even mention it. Meanwhile I feel so raw, so shaken by this attack on our humanity, that I worry I have little to offer.
I am connecting with my queer friends and allies, I am allowing myself to mourn, to feel angry and shocked. I am allowing myself to post articles and read, as well as taking time to unplug and go for a walk with my dog. I am allowing myself to cry.
And I sit with a deep unease, a sense of dread about safety, equality and the state of our world. Then I remember that my people are strong, and we are truly family. We will not grow quiet over such murderous hate. We will rise up and continue to live and LOVE.
I am Latina. I am Queer. I am Orlando.
#weareorlando #queerlivesmatter ( Dr. Christina Coto, PsyD; website )
Hurting for the woman interviewed not knowing the fate of her son. Hurting even more to learn he was one of those killed. (Bobbe, human)
I feel like I'm in an alternate reality where other people's lives are untouched and mine feels profoundly affected by this event. This makes me a little angry, maybe. but mostly it makes me feel alone among people who are not queer.
I feel better knowing I can do something by offering counseling to those in need.
When out in my neighborhood I feel more afraid and more aware of people's stares than usual. More paranoid. Or, maybe, just much more in touch with this fear I carry around me always.
I feel deeply, deeply angry at politicians who are exploiting this for their own gain. I feel frustrated by the way that identity is so often being erased from the conversation, both LGBTQ identities and Latinx identities as well. I feel like all of our nation's fault lines are cracking open and shaking me. (Dr. Jen Bailey, Psychologist, website)