9 LGBTQ Writers Reflect after Orlando

Daniel Evans Pritchard in The Critical Flame:

We at The Critical Flame shared the heartbreak, anger, and confusion at the recent mass shooting of members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community inOrlando, where a lone gunman killed more than fifty LGBTQ-identified and Latinx people at Pulse nightclub.

The shooter likely intended to silence and marginalize the LGBTQ/Latinx community. It has been heartening to see many writers responding with such expansive humanity. Justin Torres writes about the particular joy found in Latinx spaces in a full-throated piece in The Washington Post, for instance, and Rigoberto González writes about finding a home in similar spaces for BuzzFeed. These are only a few examples, but their reflections seeded the idea for our feature.

It has been a year too full of tragedy, mourning, and anger. Over just the past week, we’ve witnessed the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of law enforcement officers, as well as the nation’s 228th mass shooting since the beginning of the year—this time of police officers and Black Lives Matter protesters in Dallas. Creating a more peaceful, more just society will require all our righteous anger, activism, ballots, and safe spaces. It will also require an articulation of what that society will look like. Every person should be able to make a home in this life, to be at home in their own identity. To remake the world so that’s not only possible but presumed and universal, we’ll need to articulate that future in policy, in practice, and in word.

This is literary journal. Language is our medium. So, in an effort to create more space for healing and solidarity, to help articulate a more peaceful and just world, CF has invited a number of LGBTQ-identified writers to respond to this question:

Can you tell us about a time that you felt at home in your identity?

Home is a complicated notion, as several of our contributors note, and it’s ultimately inadequate to the task of realizing justice—but it is a powerful idea. A person can find home in a community, in a relationship, at a nightclub, in writing, etc.

I’m so grateful to our contributors for their generosity, careful reflection, and honesty. I am also deeply indebted to both Alison Lanier, CF Conversations Editor, and Ricco Siasoco, CF Contributing Editor, for their guidance in the formulation and curation of this feature.

In peace and solidarity,

Daniel Evans Pritchard

More here.