We are in mourning. Our beloved community is being torn apart by gun violence, by homophobia, by violence against women and trans people. The deadly massacre in Orlando, FL was another attempt to wound the heart of the LGBTQ and Latinx community. Many terms are being attached to the shooter and his actions, terrorist, hate crime, mass shooter. These speak to the broader network of violent actions and thought that undermine our civil society. But we cannot also forget the specificity of this action. The fact that a gay nightclub was targeted on Latinx night in the middle of Pride month; an event promoted featuring trans performers. Their lives matter. Their histories and voices, now cut short, matter.
But we do not write this to simply remind us of what we already know. We want concrete action and as community members and allies, look for ways to support the ongoing work of the ferociously brave LGTBQ community. You will find a sample letter that Related Tactics wrote and sent to our respective congresspeople. We encourage you to copy the letter, adjust to your needs and send forward via email, phone, or tweet. And then do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next until change is made. It takes a few moments, just a little longer than it takes to swap out your profile pic.
We must demand these outcomes from our representatives. The nearly 15 hour filibuster led by Senator Chris Murphy demonstrates how important our voices are as allies, community members, activists, victims, immigrants, and really, just fucking human beings. As much as this violence shapes our history, marks the birth of our marches, festivals, and, memorials that assert our presence and culture, it also shatters our souls every time another life is lost. We are tired of waiting for solutions to drift down from on high.
If you are at a loss for what to ask your Representative/Senator, here are a few places to start:
First. Remove the tools that make this act of hate all too easy. Close the deadly loopholes in our laws that make it too easy for destructive people to get guns and use them at will. We need to support stronger, more comprehensive legislation that requires:
- universal background checks for all gun purchases, in person and online;
- a ban on magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition;
- and other common sense gun control measures to prevent these tragedies from continuing to occur.
Second. Stand against laws that continue to marginalize, dehumanize and undermine the voices of trans people and other LGBQ folks. This means fighting against the recent flood of legislation attempting to restrict basic access to safe bathroom facilities for trans and gender-nonconforming people. This means standing against attempts to impose and institutionalize religious beliefs in law under the guise of upholding religious freedom. This means you can also stand for anti-discrimination legislation that protects LGBTQ people. This means you should stand for non-discriminatory adoption policies and immigration policies.
Third. Stand against anti-immigrant and xenophobic policies. Stop deportations and support programs like DREAM that provide clear access, allow LGBT partners to sponsor, and in general, put an end to platforms that scapegoat immigrants (and communities of color always framed as foreign and immigrant no matter their actual status) that lead to the perception of our communities as disposable and undesirable–good for temporary labor but not full human dignity.