I Fight So Love Will Win
The list of names is too long for me to fully wrap my mind around the number. 50. I cannot begin to say this figure without feeling putrid hatred, and I begin to wonder about my own demons—hatred, a demon that varies in power, the seed of violence and here, a loss of life. Lives. My mind begins to wander, I don’t know if my hatred is justified because this act of hate was not; and I scroll, look at the faces from which happiness and spirit and soul come spilling across the computer screen, and I cry. I cry for the victims. I cry for the pain caused by each loss of beautiful life. But my empathy is not enough as I think about how lucky I am to have others sit well with my sexual orientation and gender identity. I am a heterosexual woman in a female body. I will never face marginalization and violence because I fit a damn template, which reeks of invalidity. I have never understood the concept of shoving love, and all of its sprawled and complicated possibilities, into two boxes. Boy likes girl, girl likes boy. There must be more. There is more. There was always more.
I think of those who came to circulate and celebrate culture as much as they did to look for and wallow in love. I think of those who were ready to be swaddled in acceptance, and even in a “safe place” could not find it. When will acceptance win? My mind looks desperately for answers but the news sources I’m reading cannot provide them. I do not find hope anywhere because the size of the tragedy is too much for anyone to seize.
The largest terror attack on US soil since 9/11.
The deadliest mass shooting in the US.
What good does our sympathy do and why does this keep happening? I continue to stare at the victims’ faces; my heart breaks at the sight of weeping families and tears welling up in the eyes of politicians, the way the president shakes his head ever so slightly when he addresses the issue. His eyes hold within them a complicated sadness, and the type of anger that is only muted for the sake of holding pose.
I am angry for them.
It is too easy for me to say “Love Wins” at the daybreak of such a hateful act for the sake of comfort and satiety and imagination. Love may win, but hatred stirs, and our love does not win if fifty families and friends face epic loss, or if the entire LGBTQ+ community—or, even more specifically, the PoC LGBTQ+ community—shakes.
Changes must be made within our country. These changes do not only involve editing gun control laws but the constant act of fighting: addressing the issue of terrorism and discrimination of marginalized communities, working for a more progressive and accepting world. The ruling of the Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage is not the finish line; we must keep fighting. Outliers: we must keep fighting.
To say that Love Wins is an empowering act within itself, but there must be action taken to show for it: merely screaming the phrase is symbolic, but what good does a symbol do if it is not real? What good is love’s moral victory if this phrase is not practiced? I am terribly saddened by this tragedy, and I wish to offer more to the victims’ families, friends, and whole communities than sympathy and thoughts; but past this clog, there is, I think, a certain strength that lies in congregations, chains linked by these feelings of sadness. I reach out to the LGBTQ+ community during this time. I do not know that cutting pain of loss, but I feel, as many do, a visceral anger when I see the faces of the victims and read their stories. It is an anger that only deepens when I count the politicians who’ve guaranteed solutions when all they’ve given are periods of momentary silence, only anticipation for the next big Tragedy. Working towards tolerance and then acceptance is the key to keep the victims’ spirits alive. I will work. I will keep my mind open. I will preserve the care and empathy that I can already feel in the air, emitting from both myself and the people around me. That is fighting, and with fighting, love will win.