After the Orlando massacre, everyone’s talking about “security”—but what does the word really mean? Is security more police on the streets? A bigger “watchlist”? Or is it a place to dance like nobody’s watching, a space of social inclusion? Is it a safe place secured by armed guards, or a place to let your guard down?
For the communities directly impacted by the Orlando massacre, the terror is now echoed by louder fears on two fronts: violence stemming from racial and anti-queer hatred on one side, and fear that their victimization will be weaponized by the institutions that purport to protect them.
Devotees remember Pulse as a miraculous sanctuary from both those terrors: a space to resist by affirming queer visibility. Founded as a haven borne of a health crisis, it was where revelers could escape, but never cower from social hostility.
Pulse has been stolen from Orlando’s LGBTQ community. Yet their vulnerability today is underscored by a rising national-security panic, coupled with the city’s grim police misconduct track record and widespread impoverishment—which risk further alienating the victimized communities and rendering their identities, and shared pain, invisible.
The grassroots federation National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), representing Asian-descendant LGBTQ communities, including many Muslim Americans, issued a response in somber solidarity:
For those of us who are LGBTQ and Muslim, we wait to see which of our identities we will be more fearful of disclosing in a world that questions our existence and intentions daily. We have found no contradiction in being both queer and Muslim, and reject the popular narrative that Islam or the Muslim community as a whole is homophobic and transphobic. We are proud to be both queer and Muslim, and cherish both of our communities….In the next few weeks, we must resist the inevitable, racist attempts to divide and conquer us. We ask that…we intentionally create systems and spaces where all members of our community feel secure, safe, and able to be their full selves.