Wonder Boi Writes

You Don’t Know Us

You don’t know us, Omar Marteen.

That fact led to death, and pain, and grief for some of us last night, but it led to something worse for you. Failure.

You saw two men kissing, and you made up your mind in an instant. I won’t go into the sadness of that. The fact that you were so filled with hate that the sight of two people expressing love enraged you shows how far from humanity you had fallen. Your heart was already clearly corroded long before the moment you decided violence was a reasonable response to love. It doesn’t take much more than that to paint a pretty clear picture of who you were as person, but if you had taken any time get to know the enemy of your own choosing, things still could have ended differently for all of us.

The liberal optimist in me firmly believes that if most of the people who spew ignorance took the time to really get to know gays and lesbians, much of their hate and misunderstandings would disappear. I think most people can still be changed with thoughtful, patient examples of love. I believe the majority of people, with the right experiences, would decide we are just like them when they see we share the same hopes and dreams and struggles. This is why coming out is still a radical, world-changing act.

But I am not so naive to think that all our problems can be solved with a heart-to-heart. I have seen racism and sexism and homophobia thrive in places where it should not, in places beyond misunderstanding, or simple lack of exposure to diversity. I know these systems occasionally require force and violence to be upheld. I also know that sometimes a human being can grow so dark and twisted they willingly abdicate their own souls. These people generally make that choice when their desire for power or vengeance or terror overcomes their desire for life itself. Clearly you had reached this point because you wanted to inflict pain or grief so badly that you were willing to give your own life in the process. You are not the first, and sadly you will not be the last, but you met the same end as all the others, and if you had taken the time to know us, you might have seen that coming.

You see, you don’t know us, but we know you.

We have heard your rants and raves on street corners and in “churches” all of our lives. We have read about you in history books going back to the dawn of time.

You are not original. Quite the opposite. You are a sad, tired cliché. And if you had taken the time to get to know a single gay person in your pathetically limited life, you would’ve known you had already lost before you even began.

Any one of us could have told you what we’ve learned from our own lives and from the lives of everyone who came before us. You are weak and scared and small compared to us. Your power flared and died in a moment, and yes, some of us died with you in that moment, but we are a resilient people. We are a stubborn people. We are a defiant people.

We survived the Dark Ages. We have been burned at the stake. We have been put on trial and hanged as witches. We have been branded with pink triangles and put into concentration camps. We have faced chemical castration and electroshock “therapy.” We have been criminalized and institutionalized. We have had our safe places bombed and burned and raided by vigilantes and legal authorities alike. And still we rose. Generation after generation, not just coming up and coming out, but pushing always forward.

Did you, you sad, scared, petulant child brimming with insecurity and rage, think that your gun could stop us? You with your anger and your misplaced indignation thought you could conquer our legions? We who are descended from giants and warriors? We who have soldiered on, loving willfully and recklessly in the face of kings and dictators and pontiffs of every religion? We will not be deterred.

Not now. Not ever. And certainly not by the likes of you.

You went into a bar during Pride month without having the slightest understanding of what we were celebrating. If you had taken the time to get to know us, to really know us and our history, you might not have liked us, but you damn sure would have realized the futility of your errand.

We do not gather this month because of the drink specials, or the dancing, or the parade floats. We gather to celebrate the fact that we are the children of a proud heritage. We gather because we are proud to be resilient and strong and filled with a fortitude you cannot fathom. We come together to share our pride in the battles won, and our pride in the battles we continue to fight. Mostly, though, we celebrate our pride in the love that brings us together.

It’s that love that ultimately makes us who we are. It streams through our blood. It is stamped on our DNA. It is a living history that moves and breathes in each and every one of our hearts and bodies. Love is the essence that connects us to one another now, to those who came before, and to all the generations who will continue on long after we are gone.

You were one man. We are a part of a line of progress that stretches from the dawn of time to the ends of eternity, united by the greatest power humanity has ever known. What could you have possibly hoped to accomplish? Maybe you wanted us to be afraid. Maybe you wanted to force us back into the closet. Maybe you wanted to eradicate us. I am not sure what you expected to do to our community, but I know you failed.

You killed and died in vain.

No, you don’t know us. I wish you had. If you had, you would have known that you weren’t going up against the people in that bar. You pitted yourself against an unstoppable movement. You were going up against the arc of human history. You were going up against love itself.

Love cannot be tortured or terrorized. It cannot be silenced. It cannot be killed.

Love heals. Love sustains. Love bolsters. Love empowers. Love overcomes. Love unites. Love always wins.

Omar Mateen, you clearly didn’t know love.

And you don’t know us.

 

 

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June 12, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

10 Comments »

  1. Beautifully said. Thank you

    Comment by KK33 | June 12, 2016 | Reply

  2. Simply amazing, Rachel. Such a strong, loving message.

    Comment by jeffreyludwig76 | June 13, 2016 | Reply

  3. Amazing and empowering. Thank you.

    Comment by Alan | June 13, 2016 | Reply

  4. Thanks for sharing. It touches us all very deeply.

    Comment by Loek | June 13, 2016 | Reply

  5. I am so very grateful for people like you, who can portray how we are feeling. Not being able to verbilize our outrage and sadness make us feel impotent.
    We are strong.
    Love wins.

    Comment by Danielle | June 13, 2016 | Reply

  6. Well said, Rachel.

    Comment by mebuchanan | June 13, 2016 | Reply

  7. […] You don’t know us […]

    Pingback by You don’t know us – Fat to Fit | June 13, 2016 | Reply

  8. It’s like I feel myself. The Worlds from heart. Russia with Orlando too.

    Comment by Elena | June 13, 2016 | Reply

  9. Reblogged this on Chris’s Space and commented:
    I am extremely proud to say that I have met this amazing author. This post from her blog says more that so many have tried in the past few days. Thank you Rachel Spangler.

    Comment by Chris | June 14, 2016 | Reply

  10. […] Spangler posted You Don’t Know Us, about the Orlando […]

    Pingback by Link Round Up: June 6 – 19 | The Lesbrary | June 19, 2016 | Reply


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