This week has been a really difficult past couple of days. Waking up to the news on Sunday that some jihadist jackass had slaughtered so many of my LGBT brothers and sisters left me reeling and in tears. We're a community with common cause and a common struggle and it's immensely painful to see the loss of so many young and beautiful lives.
I think this kind of solidarity is something everyone understands - gay or straight. But something many straight people might not have consider is the importance of having gay clubs in our communities. For many of us, it’s the only place we feel that we can really be ourselves. It’s the only place where we can hold hands or kiss our partner without getting fifty sideways looks or hearing whispers. It’s the only place where we can give a compliment to someone we find attractive without worrying about getting punched in the face. And for those like me who grew up in a deeply homophobic religion - it was the first place we ever found people who accepted us . . . for us.
To call a gay club a “sanctuary” is not a hyperbole. It’s so much more than a dance club or a singles club or a place to relax and drink a beer. It’s also a home of acceptance. A fortress of tolerance. And a beacon hope. It's the idea that when you come here you don't have to worry about the discomfort of phobia of others. You can just be . . . you. No act. No pretense. No hiding. And that’s what makes the terrorizing events of Sunday morning just that much more horrific. Because - in the one place where we thought it was safe to be ourselves - someone visited upon us the worst shooting in US history.
That night here in Sacramento we held a vigil for those who were injured and for those who died. I didn’t know how but I hoped we would begin to heal and find a way to regain some semblance of safety . . .
(me on the left)
. . . and then I heard the rant yesterday by Pastor Roger Jimenez about how, “The real tragedy is more of them didn’t die.”
What a hate filled religious little troll I thought to myself. He’s probably some nobody with a congregation of like ten people in the backwaters of Missouri or Alabama or something . . . (Google) . . . wtf? - he lives here in Sacramento? . . . wtf! His church is right up the street from me? . . . WTF! His congregation is standing by what he said and he’s holding a sermon on the topic tonight!!!!!
It was short notice but at least a hundred of us showed up and protested out in front of the church. We chanted, “Se-pa-rate church-and-hate” and “We are one pulse” (after the name of the club). We sang songs about love. And we held hands and read allowed the names of the forty-nine victims.
It was nice to see so many Christians there supporting the LGBT community and saying they don’t condone hate. The religion, as a whole, has come a long ways. I know there’s still a lot of bad ideas and intolerance but I genuinely do hope they continue their trend of moving towards humanist values.
On Sunday we’re going to protest again. But as we actually have time to organize and it’s on a weekend our group will be a lot larger. Already 800 people have signed up to come. And if any of you are in the area and want to speak out against hate I hope you will come too. We're all still hurting and your moral support would be much appreciated.
For everyone else on this forum, I’ll try to keep you posted and let you know how it goes And please never be a spectator to intolerance or bigotry. Speak up. Speak out. It may not change the behavior of aggressor but it means the world to those who are marginalized when they realize they're not fighting alone.