by Lord Unicron
I was going to explain my absence of late, but this is neither the time nor place for that. We’ll get to it soon..but not today.
Today, I am thinking with a heavy heart of the people who were murdered by an extremist in the name of an ideology that teaches hatred of The Other.
In the wee hours of this morning Eastern time, people who gathered at a place where they could be themselves and bask in a sense of community and belonging were attacked. The attacker did not know his victims. He did not see them as human. They were simply objects, things, a direct threat and contradiction to his ideology of hatred and fear to be removed.
50 have died. At least 53 more were injured.
Because they had the audacity to be different. Because they were born a certain way. Because they sought refuge, community and love with one another. Because they gathered together to dance, celebrate and be who they were without fear.
And to the gunman, Omar Sadiqqi Mateen, this simple, nonviolent act that plays out nightly in cities around the world justified their death.
At Covert and Carnal, we believe passionately in the right of everyone to consensually seek love and joy where and with whom they can, whether you’re cisgendered, transgendered, LGBT+, hetero, kinky or vanilla. It doesn’t matter your color, creed, ethnicity, gender or religion. It doesn’t matter what deity or deities you worship. Everyone has the right to seek out the pleasures that define and free them to be the best people they can possibly be.
I have gay relatives and friends. I am on excellent terms with a number of bi- and bi-curious people of all gender associations and orientations, and am proud to know them all. They do no harm. They are model citizens. They go to work, school, raise and tend their families with love and compassion and serve their country and communities with honor, dignity and understanding, even when that same honor and dignity is denied to them because through an accident of birth, they were born “Other.”
THERE IS NO “OTHER.”
In the book Spock’s World, Diane Duane wrote, “The spear in the Other’s heart is the spear in your own. YOU ARE HE [emphasis added].” Today we have seen that. The media footage of people like Chris Hansen, who didn’t set out to be a hero but became one by helping to carry a gunshot victim out of the Pulse Nightclub and into a waiting vehicle to get emergency treatment for his wounds, is absolute proof positive of it. The people standing in line, 1,500 strong and growing, to donate blood at an Orlando blood bank, is further confirmation.
These are people, human beings, showing the best of the human spirit in the face of the worst of it.
It happened in Orlando. And it can happen anywhere else, too. I am keenly aware of this.
I am not “The Other”…but someday I could be.
Because of my kinks. Because of my lifestyle. Because I worship or don’t worship this iteration of Divinity or that. Because I’m a ginger. Because I’m white. Because I’m tolerant of others who AREN’T carbon copies of me. Someone may well look at me and the way I live my life, and decide that I am unworthy to continue living it because someone else’s god decreed it so.
It could happen to me. And it could happen to you too.
I do not say this to inspire fear, but vigilance. I do not wish to inspire dread, but hope. We all need to be aware that because we are “Other,” our very “Otherness” could make us targets at some point. We should not discount what happened in Orlando as a random event or something that only happens to “The Other” in some far-off place that doesn’t touch or concern us.
I’m sure many people in Orlando believed that too, and today, as the mourning begins and turns to outrage and fury, they have learned differently.
Wherever you are, whatever your kink, lifestyle or orientation, I ask you to think of those slain and wounded in Orlando and recognize that no matter where you fall on the kink, gender or sexuality spectrum, these are first and foremost our brothers and sisters. These are human beings, some of whom met a tragic and violent end for no reason other than one person’s espousal of a perverse faith that demands absolute compliance from its faithful and the death of those who do not believe as they believe. Any ideology taken to its furthest extreme is toxic and destructive, and the toll in innocent blood must not be overlooked or dismissed as something that “they brought upon themselves.”
I grieve for the fallen, although I did not know any of them. I celebrate the heroism that many of these people demonstrated in the face of the unthinkable brought to hideous life. I mourn with the families and friends of the victims, knowing full well that mere words cannot and will not mend the holes shaped like their loved ones that this despicable and disgraceful act has torn in their lives. I honor those who resisted, ran and tried to fight back as well as the law enforcement and emergency personnel who responded to the scene. I ache for those who, having witnessed these horrors, must now try to rebuild their lives and reconcile with a new and terrifying reality.
Benjamin Franklin said, “We must all hang together, or we will assuredly hang separately.”
Today I, and House Unicron, hang with the people of Orlando and especially those in the LGBT+ and kink communities. Let us never forget that what befell them could happen anywhere, to anyone, at any time. But more importantly, let us never forget that love and the human spirit will always defeat hatred in the end.
You don’t know me, Orlando. But I have heard your cries. And I, like so many others, stand with you.
Today, you are not “The Other.” You are my brothers and sisters, and I honor you as such.
Head and Lord of House Unicron