Why Orlando Makes Me Want to Come Out


Why Orlando Makes Me Want to Come Out

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré


oogle Maps tells me that Orlando is exactly 14,033 kilometres away from where I live. I will need to take a minimum of two flights to get there. I have never been to Orlando and had never heard of Pulse until Sunday. But even now, after the water-cooler conversations have died down and Facebook solidarity updates on the shootings are done with, I am unable to explain to anyone why the shooting at Orlando continues to affect me viscerally. I am unable to share my ongoing grief. I am unable to tell people that I’m like those who died. I am queer.

I sit silently at my desk, going about my business, getting my coffee, while my thoughts keep straying to Orlando, to the people who were brave enough to live their lives openly. I continue to track news updates, keep interrupting work to read about the victims, scroll through photos of the massacre. A colleague looks over my shoulder and asks, “Why are you obsessing over this?” To him, the shooting is probably just another massacre in the US. Same old, same old. For me, it has a whole new meaning. After all, people no different from me were hit. Shot, bloodied, and murdered.