Tuesday, June 14, 2016

An Attack on My Community

It's terribly ironic that my last post about a month ago proclaimed that I have nothing to complain about, but these past two weeks of June have been very stressful.  After having a wonderful birthday, I was slapped with an eviction notice... but we're pushing back leaning on the city to protect us.  Jimmy is fighting while I come off as weak in the situation. I feel lucky to be living in such a great location for such a great price for so many years.  Jimmy pointed at leaks in the ceiling, the carpet that hasn't been replaced in years and the foundation that has not been earthquake reinforced - we get what we pay for and we have rent control.

On top of that comes the Orlando tragedy in which I found myself crying at work reading victim stories and being surrounded by clueless coworkers who don't feel the pain that I'm feeling because their community wasn't targeted.

  • Juan Ramon Guerrero and Christopher "Drew" Leinonen who were to get married, but will be buried together.  If you read about their family, your heart will melt.  If you follow their instagram they remind me the most of myself and my friends.  Their story hurt me the most.
  • Akyra Murray who was celebrating her high school graduation reminded me of a time when I went to 18+ gay clubs in San Francisco called Faith... I was young and carefree.  Everything was new and exciting.  I was celebrating as much as she was and I felt safe being myself.
  • Brenda Lee Marquez McCool who was a survivor of both breast and bone cancer was out dancing with her son before she shielded him from the bullets.  Parents protecting their kids always makes my heart jerk.
I attended the vigil in DTLA in front of LA City hall last night where I found 23 of my friends.  We came to listen, mourn and be empowered.  We all knew that I could have been us that night.  Pulse in Orlando - Latin night.  This sounds all too familiar.  It could have been Rage or Cantina in WeHo or the now defunct Dragon or Beaux in San Francisco.  Other Gaysian / POC Gay spaces where I would consider a safe space to dance, to say what's on my mind, to hold Jimmy's hand without being scared. 

My dad posted about it on Facebook, but I had to correct him.

My dad texted me to pray everyday and I told him that God won't protect me, but gun control will.  At the same a Sacramento Baptist pastor praised the Orlando massacre.  I began reading about places in the world where you could be put to death for being gay.  What is the purpose of religion?  I don't see progress.  How can I pray to "God" when others' Gods say that I should be dead? 

I only pray when I fly.  Maybe because I'll be in the sky and I ask for protection from who ever is living in the clouds.  A quick sign of the father, the son and the holy spirit eases my flying anxiety.   That God will protect me when I'm closer to heaven and not on this earth when it only takes 7 minutes for some idiot human to legally buy an assault rifle and take into action his interpretation of his religion and internalized homophobia etc.

Normalizing and Checking In.
On Sunday, I went out to Akbar, the Arabian themed gay bar for 30 minutes.  It was difficult to shake the sense of fear from my mind.  But I know that I needed to.  I cannot let them win so I danced while drinking water to a remix of Whitney Houston. 

I messaged a few friends who said, "thank you for asking how I'm doing. I've talked about it.. but no one actually asked how I was."  Yes, because we're family.

The Need for Pride 
In the photo above, I'm wearing a Pride t-shirt.  I never usually celebrate pride because I never felt the need to.  Because I'm always surrounded by people who think and act like me.  But this year, I've felt less of that because of my new work environment and this tragedy.

I've never felt prosecuted and the automatic check that I do before kissing or touching my boyfriend in public has already become natural.  But now I feel that it's even more important to have pride and to be visible because in actuality I'm not as safe as I thought I've been.