I’ve been on the periphery of the NaNoWriMo community since 2018. I have never really found “my crew.” So as I was trying to “find my crew” in the LGBTQIA+ group, preparing for Camp NaNoWriMoin April 2022, I thought I would try to find others who were of like minds.
“Old Femme Dyke Looking for Other Old Homos (Most Un-PC Thread Ever)
“taking a big deep breath
“I’m a 60+ year old femme dyke and am writing a semi-autobiographical novel about the years between 1978 and 1988, immediately pre- and post-AIDS. It’s mostly uplifting – filled with fun and joy, sex and way too many drugs, and includes a road trip (of course).
“I’m keeping the vernacular of the time, hence wanting to talk to others who were in the discos – the glory holes, the bath houses, etc. – during those years. I was a fag hag who lived with groups of gay men, so was privy to their sexual lives. While graphic sex isn’t the driving factor of what I’m writing, it is definitely the undercurrent throughout. (And I am not wanting to have sexual discussions here!)
“Adding another layer, I was coming out as a femme lesbian in a world filled with androgynous women. Drag Queens were my sister-friends. Trans folks were rare, so have bit parts in the book. (One of the hundreds of Un-PC things being written.)
“I am also wanting companionship as I recall those who died without hope and without their families.
“Gads, this is complicated. Anyone?”
Reply from the Moderators
Intro to automated one:
“This is an automated message from NaNoWriMo to let you know that your post was hidden.”
That was boring.
Highlights of the individualized email:
“Your post has been hidden because of the language of your title and in the body of your post.”
“… inflammatory words.”
“… you are part of the community”
“… you have every right to reclaim that word …”
“… we support the community reclaiming those words …”
“… seeing these words can still be triggering …”
“Thank you for understanding.”
“Well, ‘understanding’ is probably not the word I would use, (name removed), but since I have no choice in the matter, that pretty much is the end of it.
“You and I both know that ‘inflammatory’ words are in the eyes and ears of the beholder. These words are not inflammatory to me at all, never have been, even in the cruelest and most volatile of years.
“It’s certainly going to be interesting to see this book in the hands of the public some day. I better build my walls of armor now.
“This reminds me of the 1978 book called Faggots by Larry Kramer (I encourage you to look it up) when the gay community went berserk with his disclosing what they wanted to keep hidden. I can relate!
“Instead of feeling thwarted, I am empowered to move forward faster.
“Thanks for the sword!
Where Do I Belong?
I called my former partner, my Beloved Zack, to ask, “Where do I belong if I don’t belong with my tribe?” He was so kind and said, quite emphatically, “NOT IN THE LGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY!”
He recounted a discussion at a Transman meeting after his phalloplasty and they were talking about penises in general and someone stood and said “My girlfriend” (who was sitting in the meeting of transmen), “is triggered by the word ‘penis'” and expected the discussion to stop. Zack told the guy to take care of his girlfriend by ushering her outside if she did not take care of herself by removing herself from the transmen meeting.
That was the last Trans meeting Zack went to.
Again, Where Do I Belong?
So, am I so old that I really do not even belong in the gay community anymore? What about my feelings of ostracization and feelings of experiencing ageism?
I have marched and written reams of articles fighting for lesbian rights, gay rights, lesbian mothers’ rights, gays in the military, gay marriages … I’ve spoken on local and national TV news programs … and now I am marginalized? Now my own experiences are moot because I am old?
Now I am not needed because those rights have been won and it was so long ago, the fight doesn’t even matter anymore? Because no one alive in these groups remembers the people who fought for them?
I FOUGHT FOR THE RIGHTS THEY HAVE TODAY!
Who the fuck did they think won these rights for them?
Now I am not needed because I am not PC? Because my words don’t “fit” with the younger mindsets? Because the vernacular changed while I was out fighting for their rights?
Where Are My People?
Zack told me to find an older group of liberal straight writers to work with. I have no idea where they are, but will begin a search. (Thank you, Google!)
Is there such a thing as a Gender Critical discussion without resorting to name-calling and real life attacks?
I would sure like to try.
This started to be aboutMale to Female TransAthletes (because I have questions and thoughts below), but seems to have morphed into a post about how I have come to question MtF TransAthletes in the first place.
Of course, I feel I need to start with explanations that may sound like apologies in advance, but here goes anyway. I feel compelled to justify where I am coming from since you do not know me; background is crucial.
My Life with Transfolks
My former partner is FtM transgender and I was with him for 28 years, 3 of which as he transitioned medically. He remains my Beloved.
In my life in online Sex Work, I spend hours a day with people on the Trans Spectrum, always in a supportive capacity, helping to remove shame and self-hate and replace that with ways to understand society is the one that is weird or freaky, not them.
In not aligning with TERFs/GC people, I believe transwomen have a right to be in women’s prisons, homeless shelters, bathrooms and everywhere else women are wandering in and out of.
I would never want a transperson discriminated for being trans (non-binary). They have every right to work, dress, live as the gender they know they are.
I understand trans-hatred and weep at the violence, suicides and murders that transpeople suffer through every single day. The discrimination is abhorrent to me.
I do not believe anyone has to pass in order to be the gender they know they are.
While I do not understand it as much, I do not have any negative thoughts about being trans without gender dysphoria.
And lastly, I freely admit my own cis-bias and that I do not have ALL the information in the world about this (I do not believe anyone else does, either). I do not consider myself a spokesperson for anyone but myself. These are my thoughts; no one has given them to me.
A Bit About My History
I came out in the Second Wave of Feminism in 1987 and the groups I attended were extremely Pro-Separatist. I knew a woman who gave her boy child up for adoption because she was a Lesbian Separatist. I was not permitted in some areas with my children because I had my son with me. I was not permitted in some spaces simply because I had a son, with me or not. I wrote about my experience with the San Diego Lesbian Press and their Separatist ideals that eventually folded the paper because they would not accept money from men.
…can’t someone like me also have questions? Where are the discussions… they all are so polarized. I would love to explore my thoughts and beliefs, but find if I step to the left I am in quicksand and if I step to the right I am bludgeoned. I know I am not alone and if I, a really pro-trans person can’t ask questions, how is the run-of-the-mill person supposed to learn? How can we shift perceptions if there is nothing but anger filling the air? And if the discussion moves to transphobia, how can there be honest interchange between people. The conversation has shifted from the focus to the picture’s whole when sometimes, looking right at the subject can be crucial for definition’s purposes.
Where do I fit in?
Now, the MtF TransAthletes
And then I get to Male to Female transwomen and I come to a halt. Mind you, I am confused about it all… will give you that much… but if a MtF transwoman has the same abilities as a ciswoman, why are they excelling in almost all sports where they compete together? And it happens when the transwoman begins in the sport immediately. It isn’t a gradual increase in speed or strength. It is as sudden as when they sign up for the competition.
I know many of the arguments about measuring testosterone, some requirements for hormone suppression or for requiring surgeries before they are permitted to compete. I know the International Olympic Committee is struggling to create a trans rule book because, it has “proved far more difficult than expected because this is such a tricky political and emotive issue.”
Not Convinced; Still Questioning
Yet, I am not convinced a MtF transwoman doesn’t have an advantage over a ciswoman.
And why aren’t there Female to Male transmen winning body building, wrestling or weight lifting competitions? Why is it that FtM transmen in sports are in weight restrictive sports like boxing, which involves speed as much as guts.
So, What I Want to Know…
Can someone explain to me, without resorting to “TRANSPHOBE” (because I am not), what I am not seeing? (And yes, I know it is my responsibility to learn, but there has to be a way for those seeking answers to find them beyond Googling. I prefer person to person connections… cis/transgender or otherwise.
Is there anyone willing to help? Is there anybody out there?
Meghann had worked in our Holistic Healthcare Center for the summer and Zack and I were driving her back to Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Zack was driving his F250 and we had a new washer and dryer for Meggie in the cargo bed. The path from San Diego to Lubbock is one of the most visually boring trips in the country. Lubbock is in West Texas, in the middle of nowhere.
Now, I cannot pee outside. When I have tried, I have had it running down my legs and into my shoes. It’s just gross.
But then there is the issue of finding a bathroom that doesn’t make me gag. Unfortunately, sometimes gagging is involved with urinating in a public toilet.
We stopped at the smallest gas station on earth to fill up and let Meghann and I go to the bathroom. When we walked inside the tiny building, the man behind the glass counter…. Yeah, the man behind the counter.
He had no teeth and was holding a half-cooked greasy hamburger (without the bun) in his hand. The grease was dripping down his arm. Lots of grease. A river of grease. Dripping off his elbow onto the newspaper he seemed to be perusing.
It was revolting.
We knew the bathroom was not going to be pristine.
Meggie and I took turns in the bathroom, one guarding the other because there was no lock on the door. And what if that man wanted to wash his hands. (As if.)
Walking out, we took one last look behind the counter as the man took a gummy bite into his burger, the grease oozing down his arm.
When we got in the truck, we laughed hysterically, partially from fear release. We kept asking each other if what we saw was real and validated each other over and over. That remains one of the most surreal experiences in my life.
BBQ in Lubbock
Once we delivered the washer and dryer to Meghann’s new apartment, we headed out for some Texas BBQ.
Walking in and sitting down became an adventure in staring; them, not us. Zack is transgender, but had not come out yet so people saw him as a very butch lesbian. I’m guessing that LGBTQ people are not a big part of Lubbock or Texas Tech. The whole walking in experience seemed to be in slow motion, every step taking 5 minutes before taking the next. I swear the place went silent.
We were seated at a large table against a wrought iron room separator. Zack sat next to the fence thing and cooed a hello to a baby hanging over a mother’s shoulder. The mother shot up out of her seat and tromped to the other side of the table and sat down for the duration of her meal. I’ve always wondered if she thought the baby would catch The Gay from Zack.
We could not miss the hushed volume compared to when we first walked in, and the stares continued. Looking around, we saw many men in cowboy hats and Zack made the comment that if we were in San Diego, they would be the ones being stared at. True, true!
The next morning, Zack and I hightailed it out of Lubbock. I was never so happy to leave somewhere, barring leaving my daughter behind, even though there was the greasy hamburger man a few hundred miles ahead.
My daughter Aimee and I got into my red Explorer with my two puppies, Cash & Lilo, and headed east, bound for Orlando.
Ironically, 15 years before, to the day again, I arrived in San Diego from Orlando, believing I would be with my Zack forevermore.
So many changes.
(The litany of changes are playing in my head: gastric bypass, fires, coccidiomycosis, buying a business, losing a business, having lots of money, having very little money, getting a dog, the dog dying, kids moving in, kids moving out, getting more dogs, getting fat again, midwifery in El Paso, studying midwifery, getting licensed, being ostracized, opiate addiction, mental illness struggles… and then Zack coming out trans.)
Zack coming out trans.
Zack Coming Out Trans
I know I wasn’t, but it felt like I was the only partner who struggled with the transition of a loved one. I mean, I wanted him to be authentic, wanted him to be happy… but what about me? (That sounds so selfish! And it was/is. I have had to come to terms with that, but clearly still feel guilty.)
There were two options when Zack came out:
He comes out, transitions medically and surgically and is happy as a clam.
He comes out and stays in the body he hated and possibly commits suicide.
The real life options for my response to his choices above, to his coming out were:
I miss his female body terribly, try to be happy for him, but struggle for years to find balance and mental stability.
Breathe easy that he doesn’t transition physically, being as selfish as can be that my life won’t be changing very much at all.
Of course, we know he medically and surgically transitioned, I freaked out and we physically parted 2-years ago today.
We had emotionally parted several years before, probably in the exact moment he came out.
A non-drinker, the first 3 days after he came out, I got very, very drunk and then we had sex. We did recognize my actions finally and I immediately stopped drinking, but sex became painfully challenging. Whereas we had always had an amazing, physically fulfilling sex life (pheromones!) before his transition, after, to me, if felt like we were strangers in a completely unemotional, clumsy struggle to connect.
This, the first of sure to be a dozen or so posts of my processing Zack’s transition, took 2 days to eek out. My heart hurts, it’s hard to breathe and the tears won’t abate.
The day your so-called ally status can prevent a cop from developing irrational fears of Black people & prevent cops from going into itchy trigger finger mode is the day you might actually become a true ally. The day your so-called ally status you seek can get a cop sentenced to prison for taking the life of an unarmed Black person, you might actually become a true ally. The day your so-called ally status decides to vote to funnel necessary funds into these Black communities that have high levels of Black on Black crime to create economic & educational opportunities so that Black people in these communities won’t have to resort to a life of crime, you might actually be a true ally. The day your so-called ally status walks up to a political figure with an agenda that is SPECIFICALLY catered towards BLACK PEOPLE that deals with OUR issues ONLY…not this “minority” double talk bullshit…you might actually become an ally. The day your so-called ally status allows for you come up from behind that computer or smartphone to venture off into the Black community to spend your money in Black establishments as much as possible in order to further help the wheels of Black economic empowerment roll along, you might actually become a true ally. Until you can actually do that, then what the hell are you actually good for?
Even to me, I sound like I am making excuses for not being more active, but I know these are my very real limitations: my disabilities (including my size), my mental illness and my financial status.
I cannot physically go out and demonstrate without being in amazing pain as well as the logistical issue of being trapped or hurt if a confrontation with people or the police occurred. I would be a liability instead of a help. Just writing that makes me sad, but I have to soothe my Activist Self with I have marched for LGBT rights, rights for people of size, against the Iraq war and any number of other causes and issues over the last 30+ years.
What I Can Do
I might forever remain on that bottom rung of the Ally ladder, the top being awarded the Ally Medal of Honor, but I can only do what I can do. (I keep repeating that to myself to assuage my feelings of inadequacy.)
I can write: Blog posts. Comments to other blog posts and articles. Tumblr posts. Tweets. Comments to both posts and Tweets.
I can give rides to those who need them to get them off the street and out of harm’s way.
I can get a tattoo that represents my support for different people and their fighting oppression. At the moment, the Safety Pin is the concept with an LGBTQIA+ rainbow, a Muslim flag…not sure what exactly yet, but something from Islam…, a peace sign, probably a rainbow one combining the two symbols… a #BLM and a flag for immigrants… probably Cuban because I am born of a Cuban Refugee even though they/we are not the Refugees of the Minute. I want a tattoo to show my support… a symbol of support that cannot be taken off like a safety pin. Hijabis, Blacks, People of Color, Disabled folks and many Gay or Transfolks cannot just take off the parts of themselves that bring, not just oppression, but (especially now), violence and death. And I have been looking deeply at my motivation for the tattoo. Is it to make me feel better with my White Guilt? Or is it really as a demonstration of solidarity. At this moment, I feel it is the latter. I have until December 6, 2016 to figure it out.
I don’t want anyone to feel alone, especially in this political climate.
I was talking to a friend tonight about The Election (groan) and we were sharing what news we had read during the day, what people talked about and our feelings about it all. Note that I do not watch or read the news (my therapist and Psychiatrist have forbidden it), but get information from Tumblr and Facebook. My friend, on the other hand, is a CNN junkie. Between us, we can usually cover all the bases.
Is this for real? Or is this a statement of protest.
When the protests at colleges began the night of the Election and now that they have continued, including the #NotMyPresident hashtag, I started with “People are PISSED! They need an outlet.” The protests will mean zero to Trump’s White House. However, they are an incredible show of force of just how angry we are that this animal has become the President. I also believe they are laying the foundation for the election in 2020. (I am sure I’m not the only one watching to see who The Leaders will be as things unfold.)
Then the Calexit stuff… will they really try to secede or are they making a loud statement of distaste and anger. I believe it is the latter.
Next up was the Change.Org Petition to ask/beg/demand the Electoral College to not vote Trump inin December. My friend was NOT happy about it at all, saying that we can not like what happened and be as loud as we want about it, but that asking that the Electoral College to do this is not the way our American System of Government works. I offered that it was yet another “statement” of anger and frustration and surely people will know that an online Petition wasn’t going to make one iota of a difference with what happens in December. He said that even some college educated people he knows who do know how the government works were demanding their friends go and sign the Petition, acting like if there were enough “signatures,” it would, in fact, sway the Electoral College. (At the time of this writing, there were already over 2 million signatures.)
Whatever Means Necessary
I made the comment that I felt people were grasping for control in an uncontrollable situation because they are terrified for their lives.They are using any means accessible to them… the streets, the press, social media and even as out-of-the-ordinary as Calexit, people are going to find a way to shout their sheer terror so someone will hear them.
I commented that many of the Protesters/Protectors have been plunged from the top of the Pyramid (Self-Actualization) to the bottom two levels (Safety and Physiological) in the time it took to hold one Election Night. Even the most oppressed have fallen down the rungs.
Women (including me), the LGBTQIA+ community (including me), Muslims (including my friend), immigrants, the disabled (including me) and so many more are, quite literally, scared of violence against themselves and their families… violence that can lead to death. As we know, it has started already. This would be the second level in Maslow’s Hierarchy.
Desperate people, especially our trans brothers and sisters, are killing themselves, bypassing the bottom level and removing themselves from life altogether. I hardly have words to express my incredible sadness that this man has terrorized our country so intensely it seems hopeless to even try and fight with The System.
It’s Up to Us
Within the span of days, I, along with millions of other, are galvanized to fix things… do away with the Electoral College, take Trump/Congress/the government to court if they attempt to stomp all over our Constitution & Amendments (thank you ACLU!)… and to reach out, speaking for and taking care of others who do not (and have not) had a voice for far, far too long because of the oppression this country has harbored since taking the land belonging to the Native Americans.
For the first time since the night of November 8th, I am feeling hopeful that we can begin to reverse the tragedy that’s taking over our White House in January 2017.
The Washington Post relayed the information from a CDC & Trump Administration meeting Thursday night, December 14, 2017 that when the CDC presents their upcoming budget paperwork, they are forbidden to use the above 7 words.
I thought this was fake, ran to Snopes… nope. It is real. Checked Twitter. Real. Checked valid news agencies. Real.
I’m shaking I’m so angry… and even scared… of what this administration is doing to our democracy. By forbidding words, it is no longer a democracy.
Democracy has been dying since Trump took office.
“Treating science as a matter of opinion rather than an objective, evidence-based reality appears to have become a hallmark of the Trump administration, particularly when it comes to climate change. So, too, is scrubbing certain words and information from discussions, documents and websites that don’t fit with Donald Trump’s vision. The Department of Health and Human Services has dropped information on its website about LGBTQ individuals.”
This edict is one of the most terrifying things that have happened and are surely not the last we will see.
We cannot sit quietly and let this happen. I know many many people have been out protesting, but we have to find another way to be heard.
I was tempted to defend myself (I use PC terms when I can, I am not prejudiced against these folks, etc.), but I am leaving this piece to speak for itself.
Thank Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir for the Craft for this vomiting of things I have been too afraid to say out loud. He tells writers to “Be brave!” and write the things that are the most difficult to say.
I initially wrote this on my Navelgazing Midwife blog, but it needed to be shifted over to here. It was written on July 4, 2016. I remain endlessly in awe of those that responded to the call for help in saving lives on June 12 and 13, 2016.
I have wanted to write this since 3am on June 12, and every day since, but it took awhile to even begin to formulate the right words; there was simply emotion and incredible sadness hindering my fingers.
I was a midwife and doula for 32 years, holding lives in my hands many times, resuscitating babies and stemming the tide of postpartum hemorrhage in mothers. Yet I have but a whiff of what our First Responders (and others named below) experienced the night of June 12 and all these days since. I have tried to think of a way to thank these people, have an intense urge to seek each one out and hold them close to my heart while whispering, “Thank you,” over and over again.
The scope of actions from those that were there… are there… for my gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer and straight family, Latinx or Anglo, (for they are family to all of us) is enormous. The incredible amount of love, care, detail, sweat, tears and even shock must be acknowledged. As a care provider myself, I listened to the incredible unfolding of the hospital staff’s descriptions of their work as the waves of dying and injured flooded through their doors. I sat through their first press conference with survivor Angel Colon front and center, enraptured, yet sobbing with gratitude and awe at their choreographed and executed dance to save lives.
I know I could never begin to thank every agency that pulled together those first 24 hours, but I need to try. Each profession or organization I list is a thread in the whole, beautiful tapestry that is #OrlandoStrong.
Please feel my overwhelming love and gratitude… and know there are thousands and thousands of others who feel the same. You people, my Superheroes, are a gift to humanity. Never, never let the finger pointing touch you. Do not claim that bureaucratic static that will certainly grow to a cacophony before too long. Stay true to your knowledge that you did everything right, you saved so many. You did the very best any of us could ever have done. No, you did far, far better than most of us.
Thank you a hundred million times plus 102 to those mentioned below. If I have forgotten you, just add yourself to the list; it was merely an ignorant oversight. You, too, belong here.
Thank you to:
– The entire Orlando Police Department who risked their lives, over and over again, to save as many people as possible. I am filled with so much gratitude, my heart overflows with tears streaming down my cheeks.
– Everyone at the Orlando Sheriff’s Department who also risked their lives multiple times and kept communications between the different agencies running smoothly. I also weep with gratitude for your agency.
– Orlando’s amazing SWAT Team who found ways to get into the building to save people and then removed that evil animal from this earth. You all are incredible.
– All the tireless Paramedics who used their minds and skills, even when the solutions were unorthodox, to help save lives.
– All the Ambulance agencies that responded and tended to the wounded while getting them to the hospital as fast as possible.
– All the EMS personnel who had many roles to fulfill in saving lives.
– All 911 Dispatch Operators… my heart aches for you wondrous folks who comforted the injured and dying throughout the several-hour ordeal. You gave genuine love to those that died while you were on the line with them and helped keep others alive until help arrived. Your professionalism and note-taking will not be forgotten as the information continues being disclosed. I send you special wishes for emotional and spiritual healing from this horrific experience.
– Orlando Regional Medical Center Hospital, especially for their readiness drills that helped set them up for success with extreme situations such as this. No words can possibly express my pride in your response, care, and skill when you were least expecting it.
– The ORMC Trauma Team, all those years of study, school and thousands of hours working in the hospital and learning specialized skills culminated on June 12, 2016, saving untold lives.
– The Emergency Room Team, thank you for always being ready for anything. You were there. You were there for all of us that night.
– The dozens and dozens of Doctors – ER, OR & ICU – for utilizing everything you’ve ever learned (and things you surely had only heard about) to save so many. There really are not enough words to offer my gratitude and love for you all.
– The Orthopedics teams… your amazing skills working with the back and muscles was most assuredly crucial that night. I am sure you saved so many from being paralyzed with your gift during surgeries. Thank you so very much.
– The Microsurgeons, your extremely specialized skills surely saved so many from bodies that would be unable to feel or move properly once healed.
– The Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgeons, your specialization was crucial with the horrific injuries to the chests of too many. Thank you for keeping so many hearts pumping.
– The beloved Nurses – Trauma, ER, Triage, OR, ICU & Surgical Recovery… it is beginning to sound trite, but I promise, I am absolutely speechless with gratitude for your gifts of kindness and skilled caring. Nothing that night (and since) could have been done without you incredible human beings. You are the Angels of Mercy.
– All the Surgeons of an endless variety, thank you for specializing in your individual areas and to the General Surgeons, thank you for attending to the multiple types of injuries that night. Thank you all for remaining strong and focused during the assembly line of cases that surely seemed never-ending at times. Your hands, in the most direct way, saved so many lives that night. Thank you.
– Residents – who used every moment of training to step in wherever you could.
– OneBlood blood bank personnel including Blood Collection sites, thank you for assuring there was ample blood at the hospitals for all the cases that needed it. Thank you, too, for opening up sites on Sunday to collect blood and organize getting that blood back to those whose lives depended on it.
– The Phlebotomy team, your job had to have been incredibly challenging that chaotic night of terror, finding veins and arteries, keeping the vials organized and then running the thousands of stat samples to the lab, over and over again… thank you for your skills and dedication.
– The Radiology team – your job was infinitely complicated by the sheer numbers of people working on each person, yet crucial to examining the patient in a life-saving manner. Thank you for knowing how to peek inside the bodies that needed so much help.
– The Respiratory Services team who were called into action to keep massively injured people breathing, either from the assault or the incredible shock and fear they were experiencing. You all are wondrous healers for those who cannot breathe.
– To Environmental Services, who were said to have cleaned and set up a room in 30-45 seconds; miraculous! It is challenging enough to keep things pristine and safe from cross-contamination under normal circumstances, but that you worked with all that blood, tissue, drapes, gauze, tubes, gloves, and then cleaning beds, rails, the floor and emptying the contaminated trash while patients were waiting for a place to lay… doing all of this in mere seconds, really is worthy of immense gratitude.
– To you amazingAnesthesiologists and Nurse Anesthetists… while I know you are highly-trained for emergencies and working with people in dire pain or unable to communicate their medical history, I am sure this night multiplied the need for your skills and knowledge dozens-fold. That you were able to anesthetize our precious friends and family so they might be saved under such circumstances is a miracle to behold. Immense gratitude.
– ToORMC Laboratory Services, the tasks thrown at you June 12 and the days immediately after had to have been enormous, yet you were there as the backbone for the entire health and safety of the injured, getting blood to whomever needed it, organizing the lab results so all providers could coordinate proper care, the list surely continues endlessly. Thank you for your amazing skill and meticulous attention to detail under extreme duress.
– To the Orlando Medical Examiners, especiallyJoshua Stephany for your immense sensitivity in keeping that madman separate from our lost souls. The unbelievable task you all gently and respectfully undertook is appreciated beyond words.
– To the Physical Therapists who began working with the survivors almost immediately so they could have as full a life as possible once they are recovered, thank you for your skills and knowledge of the body and its nuanced possibilities through movement and touch.
– To theChaplains of the Orlando Police Departmentand the others around Orlando, thank you for rushing to the spiritual aid of our First Responders, the families of the injured and dying and praying with the mass of disbelieving friends and relatives in their moments of spiritual questioning and anger towards God. Thank you for your love and patience with so much inner pain.
– To our Mental Health Therapists & Psychiatrists who flooded the different locations where families waited for news of their loved ones, knowing crisis counseling was an immediate need and you provided it, with zero regard for payment of any kind except knowing you were helping someone in emotional pain. Mental health needs will reverberate for years and years for so many of us, so thank you in advance for all you will do for everyone as time unfolds the mental and emotional anguish of this horrific night.
– To the Pharmacists at ORMC, your enormous task of providing the correct medications for scores of critically injured patients has not been overlooked. Filling order after order in the middle of the night had to have been daunting, yet when you, too, called for help, it came in in droves. Thank you for your education and extreme attention to detail.
– To the LGBTQ Center of Orlando, who immediately opened their doors to anyone who needed a place to talk, be held, cry or mourn. No words can express my gratitude for all you have done, are doing and will continue to do for our incredibly awesome and diverse community. May our Center grow as much as our hearts have for you after this disaster.
– To the Cell Phone companies for keeping those injured and dying in touch with loved ones and 911 operators.
– To those inside Pulse that struggled to save lives as the horror unfolded, who shielded others with your bodies, who comforted the injured and dying as you hid anywhere you could, who held friends as they bled to death in your arms… no amount of tears and thanks can explain how full my heart is for you beautiful people. Your unspeakable pain will never be forgotten or taken for granted. You are incredible human beings who were in a horrible situation, but your soaring kindnesses outshone any evil that man tried to snuff out. Bless all of you.
– To those who work at Pulse for your belief in human rights and dignity – you will never be forgotten… especially Barbara Poma – you are so loved.
– To the civilians who just happened to be in the area and helped the injured, comforted the dying and transported anyone they could to the hospital, thank you. Clearly, we needed you there that night.
– Special note to the Religious Community… Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and many denominations of Christians… who pulled together to pray and offer support to all who needed it. In the days afterwards, church services were held to assist the mourners who found solace in religious healing.
One national speaker, Victoria Kirby York of the National LGBTQ Task Force, spoke at a local church service and she must be held aloft and applauded. In a sea of religions not understanding the LGBTQ community, Ms. York stunned everyone with her ability to use Scripture to affirm the LGBTQ experience and right to love who we choose. Her words were a spiritual salve for so many who have been alienated by the religions in our neighborhoods and the policy-makers’ pens.
To the hypocrites among the religious folks (you know who you are), I hope you are able to rectify the doublespeak you drooled off your tongues after our tragedy because our LGBTQ family keeps dying because of your hate and damning judgment. It needs to stop. Now.
Ongoing Love & Support
While the above list, surely not complete, reflects the care and love from only the first day or two post-massacre, I could continue for another three days thanking the multitudes of restaurants, airlines, hotels, businesses, those that brought Comfort Dogs to love on those that needed a tender doggie hug, and then the ongoing monetary donations to the Pulse GoFundMe Page.
I must also thank the rest of the United States and the World for their endless support through vigils and moments of silence for our 49 beloved murdered friends and 53 recovering victims.
Please take a moment to offer thanks to everyone I’ve mentioned and those I have forgotten to name.
And lastly, please remember the families of those who have died and been injured. Their lives are forever changed. May they find at least a moment of peace through all of our love.
To our most precious doves, we will never forget your names or who you are: