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Another World Is Possible

I spent all of Sunday looking at information about the shooting and was completely numb to it. It’s hard to actually look at Gay oppression, especially when Gay marriage is legal and being Gay has become so mainstream in the United States.

On Monday I went to a vigil at City Hall downtown, with a friend from work who is also Queer and her seven-year-old daughter. About a thousand people gathered. We filled the entire block; you could not see both ends of the crowd. The speakers were Queer people in their twenties and thirties, Latinx and African heritage, men and women.

A young woman killed in the shooting was from our city. She had graduated from high school just last week, third in her class. She had been on the basketball team. Her coach, a young adult Black woman, spoke, while her teammates stood nearby, holding each other and crying. The coach spoke powerfully about homophobia and how young people get left so alone in dealing with Gay oppression. She spoke about how society sends messages to young people that limit them and how they get left with few options. She called on adults to figure out how to be better allies. How many of us LGBTQ people could have used thoughtful adult allies? That question has been good for sessions.

Then the speakers led the crowd into the street, and we walked around City Hall. The mood was somber and sobering. People were scared; I could feel it and see it in their body language. I could feel the terror in my own body and wanted to be singing with the people I was walking with. My friend is an actor and sings all the time, so we spent half the walk thinking of songs and then throwing out each option, too scared to put ourselves out there. Finally we picked “This Little Light of Mine,” because many people were carrying candles. We started singing and slowly got people to join us. We ended up in the inner ring of a large circle, leading a group of probably two hundred people in singing together for at least an hour.

This is part of what I wrote about it on Facebook the next day: “Hard places melted as we kept putting our voices out together. Remember the loss and hate. And remember the hope and connections. They are real. Another world is possible—the one that we want.”

I exchanged hugs with many people I had never met before and felt true, deep human love for each of them. To come together the way we did was a huge contradiction to the way isolation hits us LGBTQ people.

Since then I have been able to have bigger sessions on facing the violence and oppression that led to the shooting. Those sessions have helped me stay committed to the people in my young adult Queer community, have helped me break through the internalized oppression and cherish them.

With love to you all,

“Libah”

Reprinted from the e-mail discussion list for RC Community members

(Present Time 184, July 2016)


Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00