How Not to Respond to the #PulseShooting

After the tragedy of June 12th, everyone had a different response. Those directly affected wept, or are no longer able to weep because they are no longer alive; those who knew people who knew victims shared in their friends’ grief; and those in the LGBT community bore heavy hearts. But others based their responses on their priorities and individual agendas. Immediately, there was the gun debate and rampant Islamophobia.

But there is one other response that grinds my gears: narrative erasure.

Pulse is a gay bar. The shooter was a homophobe. He was filled with hate in his heart after seeing two men kissing.

And if someone’s first response is “Straight people go to gay clubs too!” or “Humanity was attacked today!” they need to take a step back, examine what happened, and mourn for those lost without making it about themselves.

What happened at Pulse was not because heterosexuality was under attack. This attack was not due to the Straight Agenda, nor was it caused because a man and a woman shared a kiss. Straight people were not the target. This was an attack on the LGBT community by someone who despised it.

And to say anything otherwise is doing the same thing society has done for too long: deny the LGBT community of their stories.

Saying that this was an attack on ~*humanity*~ silences queer people in the same way that saying All Lives Matter silences the narratives of black people.

And if you are called out on such harmful behavior, don’t hide in your echo chamber. See what you can learn. Because the worst thing that learning can do is shape you into a better person. Learn about the LGBT community. Learn about the narratives. Allow yourself to be educated, instead of spouting well-intentioned thoughts without realizing the harmful impact they can have. The appropriate response is to apologize, learn, and refrain from that harmful behavior in the future. And if someone wants to plug their ears and close their eyes when confronted with the harsh truth that even the most well-intentioned expressions can hurt, that’s on them.

So don’t turn this tragedy into something that affected ~*humanity*~ – that vague word people say when they want to sound inclusive – say that Latinx LGBT individuals were the targets. This was a tragic attack on the LGBT community, and to say anything otherwise is to withhold information and rewrite history.

So if you’re thinking about avoiding the words Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender while describing this event, or opting for the comfortable phrase ~*humanity*~ – I have two words for you: Just don’t.

Embrace the fact that this tragic event has occurred to a community you may not be a part of. And learn from it.


7 thoughts on “How Not to Respond to the #PulseShooting

  1. I could tell a lot of people were nervous about how to respond because they knew that it wasn’t a direct attack on them. Like, as a straight woman, I can feel sorry for the lives that were lost too soon, but it wasn’t a direct attack on my way of life. I chose to contact people I knew in the community and talk privately with them because then I felt like I could say the right things and respond appropriately. As much as I’m sick of mindless violence, I’m sick of people misinterpreting the story to make themselves the victims or push an agenda. Let’s grieve and change this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is a good article. While I know what you are saying, I also have to conclude that to me, it is an attack on humanity yes, very much so. But within that I can also take the narrative further and say, an attack on the LGBT community. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those are my thoughts, too. Of course the LGBT community is a part of humanity. My problem is when the word “humanity” erases the specific communities. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very well written as usual Manda. I’ve seen so many people change this tragedy into their own agendas; like being for or against open carry, wanting stricter gun laws; or making it about CIS people when it was clearly a specific attack on a targeted group of people aka the LGBT+ group. I love reading your voice and opinions. Thank you for sharing ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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