QUEER VOICES
06/15/2016 11:53 am ET Updated Jun 17, 2016

We Will Be In Mourning For A Long Time. Please, Let Us Have Our Grief.

This is Queer Pain.
Erik de Castro / Reuters

With less than 100 hours between us and the slaughter of 49 queer and trans people, mostly of color, at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, I am already seeing signs that many people are wearing thin of our public grieving and the constant coverage of the event.

From angry Facebook posts to offensive tweets, many -- assumably straight people -- are beginning to vocalize their exhaustion about the current media climate.

I'm here to say: I'm tired, too. But I'm sorry that you don't understand.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community will be in mourning for a long, long time -- and, as a community, we have been irrevocably marked, affected and reminded.

Reminded that this world is not designed for our survival, and that these systems of power have the potential to form a human being into someone who hates us -- or, perhaps, hates a part of themselves -- so much that they want to kill it so publicly, violently and openly.

There is not really a way to articulate or describe the feeling of wanting to completely disavow, remove or kill a part of yourself -- a feeling that so many of us experienced, and continue to experience, when first coming to terms with our own sexuality or gender identity at a young age.

Queer, trans, gay, bi -- the feeling of being Othered by the world, told that you are broken and made to feel unsafe in public spaces because of an immutable aspect of who you are, is an old pain that many of us thought we moved past and others now are dealing with in brand new ways.

But, in reality, this old, familiar pain has always been right under the surface of our skin. And, for so many of us, this massacre of our queer family has triggered this immobilizing, painful feeling and brought it right back to the forefront of our consciousness.

This is Queer Pain. And like any lived experience of a minority group, it is impossible to articulate unless you have also been forced to accept and internalize a part of yourself that for so long made you feel broken. For many of us, we are also coming to understand so much of the pain experienced by our queer ancestors in a tangible, horrific way for the first time.

The LGBT community is never going to be the same. We all know that having to constantly deal with the horrors of humanity through the framework of the media can be exhausting.

But please, give us the time and space to feel this old, familiar pain and mourn the loss of so many of our brothers, sisters and siblings who, at some time or another, have had to feel it, too. 

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