72 hours. I am still numb. But also fatigued (from 72 hours of numbness). I can barely find that part of me which says “smile;” which says “do not cry openly on this train/on this sidewalk/in this bar;” which holds it in until I make it back to the walls of my apartment…walls that after 72 hours feel as stifling as the un-air conditioned NYC summer air they gather and hold hostage.
But I am familiar with hostage. With closet. With seeking safety inside my walls because the world outside does not understand me, and at times feels so hostile. I do not belong out there — with people going about their lives like the world is still turning. Talking. About everything. Including Orlando. Including this thing that is part my grief (and part not).
I am still trying to understand my role in all of this. I have always considered my sexuality nobody’s business by mine and the person(s) I choose to be with. I have never been active in the LGBTQIA community, partially because I do not feel like I share their story. I have my own history, so I have never taken a label — at most I (sometimes coyly) say I identify as Bella. But I am not hetero. My first relationship was with a woman and I have been with both men and women. I suppose I identify most closely as bi/pansexual.
That being said, I am white and femme (and have been in CIS functioning relationships). So when most people look at me they just see a blonde. If men discover I may be queer/bi, more often than not it makes me more attractive because they assume I’m down for a 3-way or some other male-fantasy-fueled fetish (CIS men, please stop with that. Trust me, the odds are almost exactly the same. It’s about preference, not orientation — just like anything else.)
Basically, I am saying *BECAUSE I AM WHITE* I don’t really face that much (other than annoying, slightly amplified misogyny) for living my life the way I want. (For those of you still wondering, this is what white privilege looks like). I recognize that my face, even if it is queer, is the face of oppression, of colonialism, of privilege, of supremacy, of appropriation, of co-opting. So even in my queerness, I choose to take the role of ally. Even in my queer grief, I try to take on the role of ally. Because I have never and will never know, experience, or understand the realities that LGBTQIA POC face every day of their lives. And the grief they are enduring right now is beyond my comprehension. It is theirs, and I do not want to co-opt that grief. I do want to offer as much love and support as I my broken heart can spill out.
We need to show respect, which may sound like silence.
So I beg my fellow white people: let’s be the best allies we can be right now by supporting the voices of POC in the LGBTQIA communities — especially in the Latinx and Muslim communities. Again, they are experiencing a pain that we, as white people (regardless of how we identify), can never understand. We need to show respect, which may sound like silence. Even if you have a really really good thought, or a super valid point to make…maybe right now is not the time for your voice to be heard. Maybe you can help raise someone else’s voice — from the voices that have been silenced and oppressed too often for too long — instead.
So yes, I am queer. But I am also an ally, and I am choosing that as my dom.
That’s where I’m at anyway.