Love & Prayers to All in Orlando & Beyond

OII-USA, aka the Intersex Campaign for Equality, sends our love and prayers to the friends, families and loved ones of the innocent victims of the #PulseOrlando nightclub shooting. We acknowledge that this tragedy was not just an act of terror, as certain factions of the American press are portraying it, but a hate crime against queer, Latinx, and specifically, queer Latinx people, as the shooting took place on Latin night at Pulse nightclub.

We do not know if any of the victims of the shooting were intersex, and we will probably never know, as so many of us do not feel safe enough to live as openly intersex people. What we do know, however, is that many intersex people, such as our own staff, Dr. Dani Lee Harris, Dana Zzyym, and Hida Viloria, are indeed either people of color, queer, or both queer and people of color, and that being members of these communities compounds the difficulties and discrimination that we face as intersex people.

In the video Trans and Queer Latinxs Respond to #PulseOrlando Shooting, posted earlier today by Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movementfour Trans and Queer Latinx leaders shared their thoughts on the racism, homophobia and transphobia behind the mass shooting, and we agree. It is simply not okay for people to focus on single minded human rights issues without acknowledging and standing against all the intersectional forms of oppression which exist in our nation. We encourage everyone to send love and prayers not only to the families and loved ones of the victims, and to LGBTQIA people during this, Pride month, but also to all Muslims in the U.S. who do not support this hateful act, as we realize that it leaves them even more susceptible to anti-Muslim attacks.

Our Founder and Executive Director Hida Viloria is a queer, first generation Latinx intersex person, and s/he shared a message of love regarding the tragedy earlier today on Facebook and Twitter.

Last night, as I sat at the #PulseOrlando shooting candlelight vigil in Oakland, with my girlfriend to my left, and a gay Latino man I’d never met before to my right, I rubbed his arm as he broke down in tears. He reminded me of my brother when he was young, my brother who was the first person I called when I heard about the tragedy in Orlando, who was born in Colombia, a few yrs before I was born in NYC, after our parents immigrated there. We both grew up to be gay, and, disowned by our homophobic father, forced to fend for ourselves in the expensive city. There, we found a new family of support among our fellow queers, and yes, the gay clubs were a big part of it. They were our haven, our safe zone, and as the young man next to me and I cried, we looked into each other’s eyes and knew that we understood.
We cried about the fact that so many of the young Latino people that were killed at that club in Orlando must have had families that didn’t even know their children were gay, b/c their children didn’t feel safe telling them; or families that had not given them the love & support they deserved, precisely BECAUSE they knew they were gay. I couldn’t be with my brother yesterday, but as the young gay man by my side and I cried for the many innocent lives lost in Orlando, lost at the very place, perhaps the only place, where they felt safe to be themselves, and sent prayers to all their loved ones who must be suffering so, we leaned into each other, our bodies holding each other’s up in support; and when it was time to leave he turned and said “thank you” and we hugged each other for a long time, both grateful for the love. Please show someone some love today, maybe even someone you think doesn’t deserve it, because love is the only thing that will heal the hatred that is extinguishing so many of the lives in the world around us.

We also encourage U.S. citizens to sign the petition to the White House– started by talented trans comedian Ian Harvie, who Viloria is interviewed with in The Human Agenda: Conversations about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity — demanding a ban on assault weapons and ammunition to non-military U.S. citizens. It sends a message that the nation must find a way to stop citizens from having access to these needlessly dangerous weapons. Thank you, and peace to all.

#Pulse #PulseOrlando #OrlandoShooting #LGBT #LGBTQIA
#intersex #queer #latinx