By: Adama Brown
I’ve never ventured to Orlando, Florida. However, at times during the past week, my weeping for the Orlando49, many of whom were queer, black, brown, and Latinx, has been uncontrollable and inconsolable. I didn’t know any of them personally yet I knew all of them. Their pictures are a reflection of me and my queer family. Violence against queer people in general and queer persons of color in particular is not new. Still, the murder of so many queer black, brown, Latinx bodies in one space, sacred bodies fashioned in the image of the Divine, is staggering and unfathomable.
Politicians have weighed in heavily on this tragedy, framing it in many ways, calling it a terrorist attack, radicalized Islam, and calling for a complete ban on the entrance of Muslim people into the U.S. At the same time, seldom has the root of the problem, homophobia, and in the case of this current event, internalized homophobia, been uttered in mainstream media. All the while, the politicos continue to fall short of naming this creation simply for what it is: hate.
Proverbs reminds us that the Divine’s first creation was in the form of wisdom, a co-partner with the Divine in all of creation. Recently, hate seems to have beget hate in the form of xenophobia and Islamophobia. The reframing of this tragedy solely as a national security issue disregards queer POC lives and moves us away from much needed discourse about the violence and discrimination that disproportionately impacts queer POC’s. Where is wisdom in the political and social climate of our times? Who bears liability for the systemic oppression that has proven to be life-limiting for queer persons of color?
There are no straightforward answers to these questions. In the days ahead, my queer siblings should be reminded that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that they were created and knit together by the Divine. The hands of the Divine both lead and hold them.