On June 12, 2016, 49 Queer Latinx and Black people were killed in Pulse, a popular queer POC nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Several news outlets deemed it as the worst mass shooting in United States history. * As soon as the news was heard, several individuals and communities came together to host vigils for the 49 Latinx and Black Queer lives that were lost to violence. To grieve, to mourn, to be angry.
However, mainstream news outlets such as CNN automatically pointed to the mass shooter and his relationship with Islam. Conversations about gun control and Islamophobia were the main concerns about this tragedy. How about the deep homophobia that was the anchor of the shooting? How about the toxic masculinity that the shooter was obviously dealing with? How about the parents who’s biggest fear of losing their child to explicit queer violence actually came true? How about how ethnicity and race were at the forefront of this tragedy?
To all the beautiful queer Latinx lives that are no longer with us, to the lives that were lost to the homophobic violence, to the lives that got whitewashed by the mainstream media, your lives mattered and they still do. The queer latinx communities all over the world will never forget the beautiful, complex, and resilient lives that were dancing and living their queer Latinx lives.
Your lives will be honored by one of the greatest revolutions: dancing. Our souls will remember the fear and systemic violence that was enacted on our communities and dance with even more joy and resilience. We’ll dance the salsa, the bachata, the merengue with the bodies that we were given and always remember to be free whenever we have a chance. And we’ll honor you with honoring ourselves and our true queer, Latinx selves.
*The Wounded Knee Massacre that happened in South Dakota in 1890 has been the worst massacre in the United States.