What is a Queer Person’s Life Actually Worth?

Blessed are our honored dead.
Blessed are our honored dead today.
Blessed are our honored …

Fuck this noise. Fuck all of this noise.

It is time to just raze the fucking country and start over from the ashes. Maybe do it right this time.

Do it right so I don’t ever have to say or write those words in anything except a story.

Do it so I don’t wonder if I am next, if my family is next, if my friends are next.

Do it so no more of my beloved community die a senseless and preventable death.

It’s 20-fucking-16, and events like the Pulse shooting shouldn’t be happening. And yet…

Yesterday I witnessed friends, family, and self-professed allies of my community decry the violence in Orlando. Even though I am grieving, my heart knew hope. “Surely”, I thought, “Surely this will be the beginning of long-overdue changes. Surely this tragedy will be a catalyst for good – and that these deaths would have a positive result.”

Hoping for better was fun while it lasted.

Folks, that I thought were allies, abandoned us to defend the shooter by defending the NRA’s version of the second amendment: “Cradle to grave, guns, guns, guns for all! All guns, all the time!”

One of those friends likely stepped off script when he summarized the Right’s position with “Disarming the citizens allows the powers to be and the government to assert Mort power over the citizens. This is the agenda and plan. The end.” I did not modify the grammar – that is an exact quote. Yes, Jason, I am disappointed. I thought you were an ally.

Guns are more important to the Right than my community’s blood seeping into the broken concrete in Orlando.

The cognitive dissonance of publicly saying both “I see your pain, and we grieve with you” and “Don’t you dare take our guns!!” is…. hell, I don’t have word sufficiently strong enough.

All I wanted to do was rage at these people. My grief and my frustration rose, and I took a break for self-care. I had lunch, picked up my wife from work and we went to Target. Then I went bowling. When I finally fell asleep at 3am, I felt like maybe – just maybe – I was reading things wrong. That, somehow, I had misread the trading of queer lives for a political point in the war against gun control.

I woke up to overt support of the shooter.

In all fairness, we shouldn’t be surprised, given the Right’s encouragement of Othering queer folk with such phrases as “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.” (Bryan Fischer, American Family Association, 2012).

To the Christian Right, the only good queer person is a dead queer person.

Omar Mateen was investigated by the FBI on at least two separate occasions. As a result, he was on the TSA No-Fly list. Still, he legally purchased the military-style weaponry used in the attack.

Why? Because we do not have common-sense gun control. Heaven forbid someone pass a thorough background check before acquiring enough firepower to kill fifty people.

This is the NRA’s playbook though – an entirely avoidable gun-related mass shooting occurs, and the response is to work harder to remove what restrictions are still left enshrined in law.

After all, the only good queer person is a dead queer person.

To all my friends and family who jump to defend the NRA and their version of the Second Amendment as more important than the lives of my community – fuck you.