A moment of reflection
June 12, 2021 9:44 PM   Subscribe

It Wasn’t Just Another Nightclub "Five years ago, I went to cover the Pulse shooting—and found myself unexpectedly close to the story." Ari Shapiro writing in The Atlantic. Alternate link. posted by hippybear (13 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you for posting. It's hard but so important to keep this in my mind every year that goes by.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:45 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]

Count didn't quite work, and couldn't find any way to add BIPOC stripes, and maybe it's just trite and silly, but I gave up on appropriate words. Thank you, hippybear. For this, and all the others so far this month.
posted by bcd at 12:08 AM on June 13 [20 favorites]

How Orlando's LGBTQ Latino community is healing and mobilizing five years after the Pulse massacre (CNN):
Morales knows the healing will be long term, but securing long-term funding for the OUAC has been a challenge since the federal grant used to fund it, from the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program, expired in 2019.

The OUAC suffered a devastating blow earlier this month, when DeSantis vetoed $150,000 for the center (and another $750,000 for the Zebra Coalition, a group that supports LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness and other issues) on the second day of LGBTQ Pride Month.

The veto was gutting, Morales said, especially because staff expected the budget to pass as it had in the Florida House and Senate.
posted by fight or flight at 3:36 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]

Putting this in a separate comment as my personal anecdote.

Five years ago today I was in Soho and recording the London Gay Men's Choir singing 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' to a silent, mourning crowd of thousands (here's another view that shows some of the crowd). The vigil was pretty spontaneous -- I heard about it through FB earlier that day at work -- but the LGBT+ community of London came out to the streets in numbers I hadn't seen outside of the official Pride events. A nearby church organised a space for people to put down flags and light candles, and other performers came forward to sing hymns or anthems of power and strength (I remember the Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst's 'Rise Like A Phoenix' was a popular choice). There were a lot of tears. I met up with friends and we just stood there and hugged each other.

Five years on, it feels as though the world hasn't changed very much. It feels like another Pulse massacre is just as possible now as it was in 2016. I wish I could say that the global community learned from it, but I think all that we learned was how to move on.

Remember their names.
posted by fight or flight at 3:45 AM on June 13 [13 favorites]

The vital role gay bars play in community building makes the attack all the more devastating.
posted by obfuscation at 4:20 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]

“You are brave, and you are stronger than you think. We are going to get through it.”

This article, and this quote has brought back a flood of memories. I have told a bit of this story on the Blue before, but I hope it's worth telling again as a profound "thank you" to the queer community at large. [And mods - if you feel like this is a derail, please do delete.] I am cis straight female, and in the 1980s, straight out of high school, I was disowned by my father - told I could not come back to his house - because I decided to live in a big Victorian house where both boys and girls lived. I was devastated, and now without financial or emotional support, found a job at a local restaurant. And it was the older members of the gay community there that took me in, and made sure I was ok.

I learned about Stonewall and drag queens and what their history was. I learned about bears and goats and drag kings and leather daddies. I learned about the AIDS epidemic and *so many* funerals from the inside, and began volunteering for AIDS education and condom distribution, and then later needle exchange (before it was completely legal). I learned about (to me) the confusing tension between the "gay" and "lesbian" communities, even if I didn't really understand why that was.

Most importantly: I learned about healthy and responsible sexuality; about Communication, Communication, Communication; and getting tested regularly, about having the right to ask all the questions you need to feel safe before stepping into a new relationship - NONE of which was talked about in the cis straight community; about how hard it is to live an authentic life and why it is SO important, even if your family kicks you out for doing so. I was loved and fed and given a place to sleep and to cry and was patiently cared for by a community whose understanding of what I was going through was so much deeper than my own.

Those incredible, caring, self-described old fags and drag queens saved me, heart body and soul, and lead me into a larger community that restored my sense of dignity in myself, and who honestly made me a better, more responsible, more loving person.

My gratitude to the LGBTQ+ community is deep and unwavering. You, and your community, saved me.

Now I have a child who is queer (their choice of term), and I tell them the stories I was told in those years, and what I saw in those years.

Thank you, @hippybear, for posting all of these articles this month. I know we have never met, but I want you to know how much love you've earned by just being you.
posted by Silvery Fish at 5:54 AM on June 13 [76 favorites]


I remember seeing the news about this and posting about it and reading friends' posts about it five years ago. It hurt. This anniversary hits harder in some ways now that I live in a bigger city and regularly go clubbing with a queer crowd, and I feel like I understand better now how this must have felt for friends who were already living here at the time.

I was near Orlando last week and thought about stopping by the club there. But ultimately, I didn't make time to do it because I was unsure of whether I even should—I wanted to check out the current club scene there, but it also felt like doing so that close to this anniversary could seem like tragedy tourism while the community still grieves. I didn't want that.

“We saw you there by yourself, and we wanted to make sure you were part of the group,” he said. “We didn’t want you to feel alone.”

This got me, because if you read my comment from yesterday, that's exactly what other queer folks did for me when I was out clubbing a couple weeks ago: made space for me in their circle, shared a drink, danced with me.

There are only 21 lesbian bars left in the whole country and they're basically having a bake sale to survive, so we all party together these days. On some level, I kind of appreciate that there's less stratification and gatekeeping in physical spaces, because things used to be more separate—I was talking with a gay friend last night about our memories of a now-shuttered gay bar I accompanied him to back in St. Louis more than a decade ago—but it's also sad that it's hard to find physical spaces made for our respective varieties of queerness.

We're still here, and we're still queer. 💖❤️🧡💛💚💙💜
posted by limeonaire at 6:52 AM on June 13 [12 favorites]

See (hear) also: NPR Ari Shapiro On Covering The Pulse Shooting
posted by bz at 9:50 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


May their memories be for a blessing. Pride weekend in DC was the weekend of the Pride massacre, and I remember such shock and sadness and grief rippling through my communities.
posted by wicked_sassy at 2:53 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]

I'm not crying, you're crying.

(We're both crying.)
posted by subdee at 6:31 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]

It was Pittsburgh Pride that weekend too. We were already marching in the parade as part of a group, we were already downtown and feeling festive when we heard the news break. I'm a millennial, too young to fully remember or live through the AIDS crisis. I'll never forget the gut punch. I'll never forget feeling how much grief and loss is part of pride, too. I remember how many older gays were so, so sad that they didn't want us younger ones to ever have to feel that. I think about it every year.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:26 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]

I was the Lighting lead in Mannequins in 2004. I wonder if I met them the night they were there. People used to hang out in the lighting booth all the time.

Orlando's gay community has always been very much in my heart since my days working in Mannequins. So many of my friends from Disney worked/hung out at Pulse.

posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:49 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]

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