We had a number of different ideas for the article this week. However, we as a staff cannot disconnect ourselves from the shooting in Orlando. We thought of writing about the history of queer bars, the history of queer organizations, and we have written and deleted more than three articles at this point. We are now trying to find the balance between respectful silence and outright ignorance of a tragedy. If we fail in finding that, we apologize.
This week, we are going to talk about “the moral of the story.”
There is a specific format to many of these articles: introduction, information, and moral of the story. As we wrote article after article for this week, it was at the last step we got stuck on, time and time again. We couldn’t think of anything worth saying, a moral worth giving into a community that has been rocked by violence. There was nothing that we thought could teach us how to move forward, not much that could offer us comfort.
That is to say; no one event could cover it all.
Before World War II, Berlin was home to a thriving queer community, and it was destroyed. Fanny Ann Eddy was working to create a safe space for the queer people in Sierra Leone, and she was murdered for her efforts. Sappho lived in a time when her sexuality was not viewed as a negative part of her identity, but history has retroactively tried to scrub it away.
But when queer people in Italy were sent to San Domino, they created a home out of a prison. When the books from Institut für Sexualwissenschaft were burned, Magnus Hirschfeld worked to rebuild. When he failed, others took his place. After Marsha P. Johnson had been murdered, her friends worked to ensure that her legacy remained and that she didn’t fade into obscurity as many would have preferred.
It is here that we find the “moral of our stories”: not in the many, many falls, but in the always-present recoveries.
Safe spaces have been few and far between for our community, and it would be a lie to say they were invariably within our reach now. Despite the lack of safety, however, we have always carried on. We had created space when none was offered to us.
There have always been people from outside our communities working to destroy us; to take away our history, our voices, our lives. Time and time again, though, we have rebuilt, we have moved forward, and we grow closer to one another. When larger society rejects us, we create our community. We have always found strength in each other through times like these, and we will continue to do so.
The queer community is resilient; the queer community is strong, the queer community is powerful. Nothing has broken that, and nothing will break that.
We will stand together, and we will rebuild.
Here are some links to organizations looking to benefit those lost this week. Keep your heads held high. This is Pride Month. This is our time. No one can take that away from us.