Today I heard about the Orlando mass-killing hate crime while I was at the retirement party of our 29-year minister the day after our own march in the Gay Pride parade. (I was one of 17 and the most visible of our group. When I passed a man on a soap box shouting hateful things I called out to a crowd of rainbow, 'We're gay happy sinners! Ecstatic! Happy sinning, Happy Pride!' with a Xena battle cry.)
My strong-ally brother read it to me and a long-time activist. My brother stumbled over a sloppy article and read 29 as the number dead. We gasped before he could correct that it was actually 50, and then we sat in horrified silence. 50. The deadliest mass shooting in my country's history and it was a hate crime during Pride, the worst terrorist attack since 2001. Latin night at a gay club. (The club I looked up and planned to go to the next time I was near Orlando.)
I saw a post from my Young Severus Snape friend (openly and quiet-proudly bisexual) on Facebook as I was scrolling tabs. He posted the 'Helper' words from Mister Rogers:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world.”
He continued with an understated and effective comment namelessly chiding gun control, inspiring hope in the overwhelming number of helpers to every hateful crime and thanked those who are indeed helping:
"It's scary to think that one man can choose to end so many lives, and that it takes so many more people to keep those lives that were spared with us. When you see that so many more people are willing to give than there are those willing to take however, I urge you to give that space in your mind and to keep hope. My thoughts and nondenominational prayers are with the friends and families of those who are lost and those who have chosen this time to step up and do whatever they can to help."
I'm not there to give blood and, to be perfectly honest, am in no condition to do so. Physical health's not really my calling. I try to educate toward inclusiveness and awareness; I seek to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable (as my dear Minister Emerita would say of ministry). Money is always needed--goodness knows how flawed our healthcare and citizenship programmes--but I am back to having distressingly little.
My friend also posted the link to the big Donation Page's gofundme:
Pulse Victims Fund run by Equality Florida that looks pretty legitimate.
I can't donate myself, at least not today; I will find at least something in my budget soon to give.
I know there's a history of writing festivals to raise donations after national disasters; I thought I could at least offer my writing.
Donate anything you can or want, even if it's the minimum (or even if you find the problem I have sometimes: your maximum is smaller than their minimum), and tell me what you'd like to see me write. Any idea you want done. Original, fandom; shipping, gen; any rating, any length, any setting and hell maybe even cross-overs. Tone, prompts, plotbunny--anything you want.
I have told everyone around me that this leadership-sabbatical summer of mine is for writing, reading, watching, and reconnecting. Here I go. (You can even make me read/watch something in order to write something.) These things will get done and you're unlikely to get a short drabble out of me (unless drabbles are what you want!).
There it is, then. I haven't got it in me quite yet to do up a whole community; I would gladly help anyone who'd feel the urge. I suppose I'll at least leave this post public in case people want to do honour system amongst friends.
I'll try to post again after tomorrow's vigil at one of the gay nightclubs in Providence. I have to go; I can't make most of RI Pride and I am drawn to rainbow like an elephant to booze (and I never forget that).
Until then, I hope you all are keeping safe and sound. What a day of suffering. May our departed be remembered as those brave souls lost to an act of hate, ignorance and prejudice; let it be a turning point for a future that arcs toward justice for queer/gay people (and for those of all demographics).
And may we remember them as we all do our best to survive and make positive change. May we do it with the weight of grief on our hearts but without losing our gay happy spark (for sinning) or our interwoven communities of support. (And may we have compassion for those who stay in the closet to whatever degree, because personal safety takes precedence.)
Now I'll step off from my soap box (I need it: I'm short) and catch a breath as I leave this to the other helpers.
[Crossposted from dreamwidth.]