So it’s been a year and a day since the Pulse massacre.
I am tired of only seeing the LGBTQ community engaged around issues of murder and marginalization. It’s why Pride month, as a whole, is difficult for me, as a gay man, as a (not too) youngish person, as a man in a wheelchair, as a Christian, as someone who considers himself too smart for his own good; it’s just one more conversation about representation and intersectionality and yes, we need to keep it going, but the circular nature of this is daunting.
I’m tired of talking. I’m ready for action and out of patience for anything but.
That the national environment has devolved into a horrifying petri dish whereby violence against the queer is perhaps more welcome than at any other time in my adult life is bonkers. I want to use harsher language, but “bonkers” calls it out while also applying a level of absurdity to it. And it is dangerous and absurd at once; how did we let this happen?
Hate grows in the hollows where love has left. It also grows in the spaces where we don’t rage against it. Where we say nothing, or choose not to explicitly proclaim our love, our perspectives, our passions. We talk a lot about Proclaiming Christ. And as a Christian, proclaiming the Good News and meaningfully sharing in the possibilities of salvation is prime amongst our goals in life on this planet. Jesus didn’t stutter; calling attention to injustice and fighting it, and using our actions to provide voices/defense/love for the marginalized, is what Jesus did. That’s the model. Period.
So are we doing that? Am I doing that? Not as well as I can, frankly. It bothers me. And I blame it on healing, I blame it on the chair, I blame it on having to pick a lane. But I don’t blame it on fear, and laziness. I should.
The Rev. Stephanie Spellers said this morning: “How did Jesus move? He moved in solidarity with the crucified class.” From where I’m sitting, LGBTQ people sure as hell qualify. What are we doing? Are we doing it better than this time last year? How many martyrs does it take?
I lose my cool more than a little when I watch the awful social media debates about brown and black and their presence on the pride flag; is that an argument that matters? No, because the real argument is one of inclusion, and why this conversation has come to the forefront; LBTQ POCs have been separated and had to carve their own communal identities away from what might be considered the primary stream of overall engagement for the entirety of the movement. Visibility is a gigantic step towards acceptance. We owe it to ourselves to not lose ourselves in a fight that divides and shows off our worst. We have real enemies to challenge and combat. At the same time, I owe it to myself to talk about faith, losing my limb, and the LGBTQ community’s space to improve for people with disabilities. It’s coming. Not today.
If you want to be an ally, do it. Proclaim it. But like being a Christian, it’s a contact sport–what comes easy doesn’t stay, and if you’re not giving something up to gain something else, it’s plastic and cheap. Protection, representation, listening, advocacy: if you’re doing it right, there’s a cost. Shouting the word “sanctuary” doesn’t create a safe space. Stepping between hatred and a victim does that.
Are we willing? Are we able? Does our covenant require this?