#QueerHeroes Day 12 – The Pulse Shooting Victims

#QueerHeroes Day 12

Stanley Almodovar III

Amanda L. Alvear

Oscar A. Aracena Montero

Rodolfo Ayala Ayala

Antonio Davon Brown

Darryl Roman Burt II

Angel Candelario-Padro

Juan Chavez Martinez

Luis Daniel Conde

Cory James Connell

Tevin Eugene Crosby

Deonka Deidra Drayton

Simón Adrian Carrillo Fernández

Leroy Valentin Fernandez

Mercedez Marisol Flores

Peter Ommy Gonzalez Cruz

Juan Ramon Guerrero

Paul Terrell Henry

Frank Hernandez

Miguel Angel Honorato

Javier Jorge Reyes

Jason Benjamin Josaphat

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice

Anthony Luis Laureano Disla

Christopher Andrew Leinonen

Alejandro Barrios Martinez

Brenda Marquez McCool

Gilberto R. Silva Menendez

Kimberly Jean Morris

Akyra Monet Murray

Luis Omar Ocasio Capo

Geraldo A. Ortiz Jimenez

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera

Joel Rayon Paniagua

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez

Enrique L. Rios, Jr.

Jean Carlos Nieves Rodríguez

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano-Rosado

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz

Yilmary Rodríguez Solivan

Edward Sotomayor Jr.

Shane Evan Tomlinson

Martin Benitez Torres

Jonathan A. Camuy Vega

Juan Pablo Rivera Velázquez

Luis Sergio Vielma

Franky Jimmy DeJesus Velázquez

Luis Daniel Wilson

Jerald Arthur Wright

Every queer person in America remembers the feeling we had two years ago tonight. The Pulse Massacre was a searingly painful reminder that being queer in public is, and always has been, an act of rebellion. No matter how comfortable some of us get, until we are on an equal societal footing (which necessitates dismantling systems of not just queer oppression, but ALL oppression, for queer people exist within every oppressed group), our public existence will always be dissent. Horrifically and tragically, these heroes were reminded of that two years ago today.

I heard the news in the middle of a shift at work and found myself fighting tears the whole night. I went home and finally sobbed with my roommate. For white, cis gays like me, queer oppression often feels like an asterisk; a footnote in a long book—I know it’s there, but in most instances, I can ignore it if I choose because my life isn’t directly threatened and my existence is always validated. I have the luxury of treating it as forgettable because it’s, honestly, often undetectable. Most of the queer community doesn’t have that luxury.

These heroes died celebrating our collective, rebellious, radical joy. Not all were queer, but when my imagination gets the better of me and I visualize those horrific final moments, I can’t bring myself to make it matter, especially not enough to dive into who was and who wasn’t.

From The Upstairs Lounge to Pulse and all before, between, and after, I know in my heart that our collective life force will extinguish the hideous death that constantly shows its face. But only if we (especially those in the community) stop ignoring it.

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