It’s been one year since 49 LGBTQ people, most of them people of color, and their allies were killed in the worst mass shooting in modern American history at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
In the weeks and months that followed, Orlando ― and the LGBTQ community around the world ― searched for ways to deal with the unimaginable grief that came with the unspeakably violent nature of the attack and the massive loss of lives that resulted from it.
For many people, part of coping and beginning the healing process involved writing about their thoughts, feelings and the reactions they saw both within and outside of the community.
HuffPost received a massive outpouring of incredible blogs in the wake of the Pulse massacre and as we pause and reflect on the year since these 49 lives were taken, we wanted to look back at some of the most powerful and formative pieces from HuffPost editors and bloggers in reaction to the tragic event.
It’s 2016 And Two Men Kissing Is Still A Stunning, Terrifying Site
Following the massacre, the shooter’s father was quoted as saying that the sight of two men kissing months prior to the shooting contributed to his actions on June 12. This blog examines how the nature of homophobia is still so pervasive in 2016 ― and how painful this reality was in the aftermath of Pulse.
The Orlando Massacre: A Reminder Of The Dangers LGBT People Live With Every Day
A reality check when it comes to the every day violence that LGBTQ people ― especially LGBTQ people of color ― experience in different forms, and the way Pulse serves as a reminder of this facet of queer experience.
Can We Please Stop Pretending This Massacre Wasn’t About Homophobia?
In the wake of Pulse, some media outlets tried to either deny or erase the idea that the massacre was a homophobic attack. This piece unpacks the absurdity of that idea, and also the pain that this erasure elicited for the queer community as they were beginning to mourn.
Queer People Deserve To Feel Safe
This piece addresses the idea of safe spaces ― what makes a space safe for queer people? It also discusses how venues and bars often represent a physical safe space for LGBTQ people, not just an emotional one.
An Open Letter To Straight People On The Pulse Massacre
A call to action for straight allies of the LGBTQ community to broaden their scope and realize that the battle for LGBTQ rights didn’t end with marriage equality ― and that LGBTQ people still face violence on a daily basis.
My Open Letter To Mr. Omar Saddiqui Mateen
A gut-wrenching open letter from a Palestinian-American Muslim woman disavowing the actions of Mateen and unpacking how his actions do not represent the thoughts, desires or worldview of the Muslim community.
What Do We Do If The Orlando Shooter Really Was Gay?
Dissecting the hard-to-swallow idea that Mateen was gay and internalized homophobia informed his actions at Pulse, this piece addresses this harrowing and painful thought and further emphasizes the importance of the culture surrounding coming out.
What This Trans Woman Wants You To Remember In The Wake Of The Orlando Shooting
A trans woman shares her own reaction to the horror of the Pulse massacre and tells readers that it is OK to create space for fear and sadness ― which can actually be part of the healing process.
102 LGBT People Were Maimed Or Killed ― And I Still Can’t Donate Blood
A look at the absurdity of the FDA’s restrictions on men who have sex with men donating blood, particlaruly when so many of the people who needed blood in the wake of the Pulse Massacre were men who have sex with men.
Hey Queers: It’s Time For Us To Act Up Again
This personal essay looks back on the history of political action group ACT UP and the tactics these individuals used during the AIDS crisis. It also argues that the lessons of this organization and this period of queer history could be used for political organizing and mobilization after Pulse.
We Won’t Let Donald Trump Use Queer Latinx Bodies To Fuel Islamophobia
This piece challenged Donald Trump, then still a candidate running for president, and his Islamophobic response to the massacre and ultimately asserts, “scare tactics won’t work on us… we’ve already seen you what you are.”
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