A man walks into a bar.
Except he wasn’t just a man, was he? And it wasn’t just a bar. Muslim, gay, American: a Muslim man walks into a gay bar in America, and everyone knows how it ended. The Orlando Shooting, we call it, before the sun has risen.
Grief means so many things when it’s public. It’s never simple.
There’s the first response, almost a routine: oh no, not again. There’s always the panicked worry- nobody I know, is it? And then details filter through, little grains of information that lodge inside us, growing larger and larger, getting covered with all the layers of our own assumptions and preconceptions until I’m not sure we could see those tiny truths if we tried.
And some of us want to say- no- what about the thousands of other Muslim men in gay bars in America that night? And some of us want to say that we knew it would happen, that it was only a matter of time before some fundie with a gun took a break from abortion clinics and shot up the queers. Some of us want to shout that yes, homophobia is everywhere in their Muslim communities. More of us want to shout that no, you will not use homophobia to excuse your hatred of Muslims. Others will talk about how exclusion itself is to blame, turning one isolated kid against another, shutting us off from one another from the beginning. Still others went hoarse years ago, exhausted from saying over and over and over and over again that it’s guns, it’s always guns. More wonder how many people have drowned in the sea this week alone, and then we hate ourselves because we only wonder about people drowning in the sea when other people in the West are killed by someone whose name sounds a lot like theirs did.
And in the centre, fifty families grieve. Continue reading “A Man Walks Into A Bar: the Orlando shooting was never just about guns.”