Are You Family?


I don’t write much. In fact, I only write when I feel things deeply. These past two days, I have been in my feelings. The pain cuts so deep that I think my tears are now crying. I cried in shock when I saw the news about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. I sat in disbelief and cried again when I saw the news about the AME Church shooting. Now, I just can’t stop crying after hearing about the recent shooting in Orlando.

As a gay Latina, this news cuts even deeper than all of the previous tragedies. None of these individuals are related to me by blood but they are my family. You see, often times coming out in communities of color means that your blood family disowns you. When they can’t make sense of the news, they tell you that you are no longer welcome and often exile you from the very family that nurtured and watched you grow. Once we lose our family, the loneliness forces us to seek comfort among other lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer folk. You feel a safe comradery with them. They are the only ones that can really understand your struggle. They survive in spite of the sadness. They recognize your lonely.

In our incredibly homophobic world it isn’t safe to be out and proud in every space. When we find ourselves outside of the safety of friends’ homes, gay clubs and pride parades and think we have met a member of the community but are unsure, we timidly ask “are you family?” These three words are incredibly powerful to us. They help us determine whether or not it is safe to be our full selves in the presence of newfound friends.

This past weekend, we lost members of our family. Our beautiful brothers and sisters were slaughtered while trying to celebrate life in a safe space where they could love freely, dance freely, and live freely. If you really are about supporting the LBGTQ community, we need you to prove it. This is a cruel world and it has taken so much for us to get to a place where we are finally able to love ourselves. If you want to help, please, just love us enough to recognize our humanity. Love us enough to mourn with us, cry with us, pray with us, feel with us, march with us, and fight with us. But, most of all please just love us.


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