The following post was originally intended to be part of NJCASA’s recognition of Pride Month, and an opportunity to show our support for the LGBT community. The need for members of the anti-violence movement to show solidarity with our partners in the LGBT community became starkly apparent with the tragic events occurring in the first hours of June 12th. This blog has been edited to reflect this attack that compels our nation to consider how oppression and violence are inextricably linked.
During our 2016 SAAM kickoff, Executive Director Patricia Teffenhart discussed the importance of recognizing how the intersections of oppression contribute to power-based violence and the cultivation of rape culture. As we observe Pride, it is important to ensure we recognize how all forms of oppression contribute to power-based violence and how this knowledge can inform our prevention work.
Recognizing that power-based violence can affect anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, homophobia and transphobia specifically perpetuate violence against individuals who identify as (or are perceived as) LGBTQ or gender non-conforming. For those of us in the anti-sexual violence movement, acknowledging this ensures we’re effectively advocating for all survivors and infusing this awareness into our prevention efforts.
In light of recent events, we can take this opportunity to stand and support our LGBTQ and gender non-confirming friends and family now more than ever. Negative attitudes, violence, and discrimination toward the LGBT community lead to an increase in risk for violence against LGBT individuals, as evident by the recent massacre in Orlando as well as another threat at the Los Angeles Pride Parade on Sunday.
Gay clubs specifically have long been considered safe spaces for individuals in the LGBTQ community. To experience violence in a safe space is violating and horrifying.
Communities, individuals, and allies especially, must take this time to spread love and support for all those impacted by this act of violence:
- Offer help for the victims. Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the victims of the Orlando massacre. Consider making a contribution. There are many ways to help in the wake of the Orlando massacre. Consider donating blood or contributing monetarily.
- Continue your allyship. While many of us may be experiencing emotions on a wide spectrum, it is important that allies continue to recognize their place in the movement for equality. Be sure to check out NJCASA’s blog post on the journey of being an ally.
- Engage resources. Whether you need one or you know of someone else who does, many resources are available. WeStandWithOrlando.com offers community resources, places to donate, and a list of upcoming vigils.
We can create safer communities by challenging oppression and naming acts of violence for what they are. Being an ally is an ongoing, lifelong process. When we work together to be respectful of all individuals and identities, we push back against oppression and create spaces for love, support, and respect to flourish.