Sunday, 12 June 2016
Last night at 1 AM I checked the news as is my habit before bedtime, to learn that something horrific was unfolding at the Pulse dance club in Orlando, Florida. This morning, I woke to news of 49 of my extended tribe killed and many injured. All I could do in the afternoon was read the news and share the grieving of friends online and edit and post the photos of yesterday’s beautiful and joyous pride parade. Back in my 20s and 30s, I frequented gay dance clubs every week. Every single time, my friends and I were well aware that to do so put us in danger from homophobic fanatics…as did just walking down the street together looking visibly gay. We did not let that fear keep us home, and many of my best memories of those years came from the joy of dancing in community.
I read on Facebook about a vigil that would take place in Astoria in the early evening and Allan and I decided to go, even though, as always, I was sorely tempted to just stay in my garden. (Allan’s photos from today are marked with an asterisk *.)
In the late afternoon, Devery came by to pick some strawberries and we talked for awhile about sadness and hope for the world.
In the evening, Allan and I went to The Garden of Surging Waves in Astoria for the vigil of memory.
Tears came because I am 61 years old and have seen the results of hatred for far too long, and because I am so moved by the local community joining together like this.
A young man spoke of how he had moved to Astoria from Orlando just four months ago, and this morning he had been looking for his friends on Facebook to see if any had died.
A woman spoke of how she and her wife and daughter had lived in Florida and had moved back to the Pacific Northwest because here, her daughter would grow up in a climate of acceptance; here in Cascadia, they are treated as a family.
A man spoke of how he and his partner had been on cruises with the delightful Edward Sotomayer, one of the first to be listed among the dead.
The organizers of the Pride weekend then led a walk all through downtown to tie black ribbons onto the banners that had been hung with happy anticipation a few days before.
Having eaten nothing all day but cereal and a banana in the morning, I appreciated repairing to Himani Indian Cuisine for some comfort food.
It had been a good thing to roust myself out of my garden and attend the vigil to be reminded that Love Wins. The next day, I came upon this video from the Guardian UK that expresses that belief well.