Today marks the one month anniversary of the Pulse massacre. This unprecedented violence towards the LGBTQIA and POC communities weighs heavily on our minds and hearts. For those who missed our initial newsletter, we want to again share our heartfelt response. Please feel free to share any comments you have below.
We at IntraSpectrum Counseling, like you, are shocked, horrified, and saddened by the events in Orlando this week. We grieve greatly for those lost and the pain that their loved ones endure. For the victims who have survived, for all members of the LGBTQ community, and all human beings, regardless of identity, who feel pain and loss for innocent human life, we echo your sorrow. Though we share in these heavy emotions, we also recognize that feelings are not enough. Increasingly, the language of “thoughts and prayers” begins to sound like a commitment to inaction, and acceptance of mass murder as the status quo. These words are hurtful and insufficient. At IntraSpectrum, we recommit ourselves to anti-violence, affirm members of the Muslim faith as peace-seeking individuals, and refuse to give in to hopelessness and complacency. We are inspired by the strength we see daily within our clients and our community and look forward to standing with each of you in mutual support.
Yes, our hearts pour out for those in Florida. But we feel more than just sorrow for others in times like this. Many of us cannot escape the thoughts of what it means for us personally to be LGBTQ at this time and to be made acutely aware of the continuing hatred that is fostered in this country and around the world toward us. For those of us that have spent time in LGBTQ social spaces, we cannot help but imagine ourselves in the very same situation, and imagine losing our own lives, or the lives of those we care for.
Currently a lot is being made of the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen’s various identities. His Muslim faith, his own sexuality, his American identity, and various others. While it is tempting and easier to focus in on one of these identities to find a single source of his hatred and actions, this is ultimately a waste of time. Mateen likely hated LGBTQ people. He too may have hated members of other minority racial communities and targeted victims who were almost exclusively people of color. What we know is that we live in a world where it is still broadly acceptable to demonize and vilify entire communities of people, and that this creates space for hate and violence. For this reason, we cannot allow Mateen’s actions to fill us with hopelessness and fear that paralyzes us and prevents us from continuing to do whatever we can do eradicate bigotry of all kinds within our own societies, social networks, and even ourselves.
For those of us who currently feel the need for support, we at IntraSpectrum encourage you to honor that need and seek out the support you need. Whether that is though your family, friendships, therapy relationships, spirituality, or any other supportive and safe spaces. For those of you with support to offer, we encourage you to use that energy positively. Ways to do this may include reaching out to ones you care for and letting them know that you support and value them. You may wish to contact your elected officials about relevant political change that you would like to see. You may wish to volunteer your time to organizations that support justice, peace, and positive change. You may also wish to commit financial resources to organizations dedicated to creating the kind of change you want to see. Whatever you do, know that you are not alone in your feelings about the events in Orlando. We stand beside you.