We were all very excited to announce a myriad of celebratory activities Reelout is engaged with over the next two weeks. And then came the horrific news from Orlando. We at Reelout wish to send all our love to the victims and the family and friends they leave behind. Over the next ten days, we are meant to celebrate and rejoice but for most of us, the very idea seems somehow inappropriate or insensitive. It is vital that you mourn. It is vital that you get angry. It is vital that you don’t suffer alone — and there are plenty of opportunities to feel a part of the community beginning this weekend. You will be surrounded by people who are feeling just as you are. Don’t feel the need to put on a happy face. Don’t feel the need to laugh and sing and dance. Don’t begrudge those people who are smiling, laughing, singing and dancing because they are all grieving on the inside. Don’t interpret celebration as an act of disrespect. In many cultures, celebration over death is a crucial part of the healing process. At the same time, nobody will fault you for demonstrating your grief we are gathering to support one another and your feelings are your own.
Lastly, there is significance to this latest tragedy and the event that motivated the Pride movement. Despite what the latest Hollywood film on Stonewall depicted, the riots in front of the Stonewall Inn in NYC were spurred due to the consistent brutalization of queer-identifed people of colour. Every year we gather to mourn the loss of transgender lives due to violence and the overwhelming majority of these victims are/were Latinx (a gender neutral term for Latino/Latina), and/or Black. Straight allies should be upset, should mourn and should stand in solidarity. LGBTQ white people should be upset, should mourn and should stand in solidarity. We should all also recognize that in addition to daily oppression for their sexual orientation or gender that QPOC (Queer People of Colour) also endure daily oppression due to racism. Be mindful of this fact as we all move forward together. Recognize how you can do your part in letting QPOC’s voices be heard over your own. It doesn’t have to diminish your own sense of grief or your sense of ownership over this tragedy. Just be conscientious that there is much larger system of oppression that ensures that these tragedies will continue to inflict people of colour. This is not a coincidence.
Here are some resources:
How White People Can be Inclusive of People of Colour: http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/02/how-white-queers-can-be-more-inclusive-of-queer-poc/
How Allies Can Show Up For the Queer Community:http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/06/allies-after-orlando/
Kingston Pride festivities have already begun. However this weekend is really where they heat up. Some have been organized by the NEW AND IMPROVED Kingston Pride Committee (important to note this is a small but dedicated committee that is striving for a more inclusive community) and some events organized by other groups in celebrating of Pride. Click HERE for a list of Kingston Pride Inc. -organized events. For a FULL list of LGBTQ related events please visit our friends at OUT/IN who have a handy-dandy calendar of events HERE