We send our solidarity and love to the victims and families of those injured and the families of those killed at the massacre at “Latin Night” at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida and all queer communities of color. Homophobia, transphobia, racism, distorted notions of masculinity, militarism, and the relentless corporate pursuit of profits by the gun lobby conspired in that horrific moment to take the lives of 49 people and injure even more who were dancing and celebrating on a Saturday night in June.
As many others have noted, queer nightclubs are one of the few safe and joyful gathering spaces for queer people of color, and are often epicenters for organizing. As numerous personal reflections from writers, and organizers attest, mass murder at a queer nightclub betrays the vitality spaces like these cultivate within a community that is so often denied their humanity and rights in schools, workplaces, public space and beyond, and express the resilience and fortitude to make magic out of the spaces left behind.
A massacre of this magnitude is made possible by a society that systemically introduces over 200 anti-LGBTQI bills, a society that barely bats a lash at the 24 reported murders of trans women in 2015, or the job harassment, discrimination, and lack of rights enforcement faced by LGBTQI workers of color. Despite the opportunistic vitriol that has followed the Orlando massacre, we join the LGBTQI community in insisting that safety and dignity cannot be secured through Islamophobia and xenophobia. And we stand ready to work together to advance a clear human rights vision that will ensure the life and dignity of all LGBTQI people.