Here is what Hank wrote:
I've spent vast portions of my life in bars. Punk bars, venues, the places I do trivia, dive bars, the places my dad played as a kid. I enjoy bars. I feel safe in bars. A whole fucking lot of the places where I took refuge or met friends or just hung out and played pool were gay bars and clubs. I was at Brothers the night they opened because some of us queer teens heard we were getting a new gay bar and they weren't carding yet. When I lived in Tampa, I was in Ybor every weekend at the drag bars, sweating my ass off and figuring out how to navigate co-ed bathrooms. My mom took me to my first gay bar - the Lighted Tree in St. Pete Beach. I'll never forget the shock of seeing people like me just hanging out, casually. Kissing. Flirting. I drank a coke and tried not to hyperventilate. No matter where I have gone, I've known that if I could find a gay club or bar, at least I had a safe place to have a drink, maybe meet some locals, and not be a fucking freak just for who I like to fuck or what gender's clothes I wore.
It is no coincidence that the modern queer rights movement started at the Stonewall Inn, a sketchy little club that made a place for drag queens, bulldaggers, and the homeless gay kids living in a nearby park. For many of us, bars and clubs were the only public queer spaces available. The only places to meet people like us. If you were in the closet and had to hide yourself, that Saturday night at Cliques or My Sister's Room or Club Park Avenue or whatever you local dive may have been was your one chance to pull down your walls for a little bit and just be.
This isn't the first time that someone has invaded that space to kill queer people because they find us disgusting or perverted or frightening or just a little too attractive, maybe. The media used to make a joke out of it. Police didn't bother to investigate. Churches sure as fuck didn't say anything against it. Now we get to watch Republican politicians try to walk a balance between acknowledging the fact that over 50 people were slaughtered and the fact that they've been part of this problem. Now we get to watch our neighbors and sometimes family or friends use our deaths to further their own hatred of religions or cultures (because their own religions are certainly squeaky clean when it comes to attacks on queers, eh?). Every step we take forward, we are chained to all that hatred and violence behind us. It slows our progress and sometimes it comes into our clubs and guns us down.
If you have ever called yourself an ally or claimed to be a friend of the queer community or put up a rainbow pic on your FB feed when a pro-gay law passed, suit deed to word. Now is the time. Get your fuck ass up this week and do something useful for the queer community, while our people mourn. Go help some homeless queer youth. Go find out what LGBT vets need done. Talk to that gay couple next door and see how you can make all your lives a little brighter.
I am full of rage. I want a living enemy to hate for this, and there isn't one. I am queer, and I am here, and I guess that's the best I can do for now.
I can't even begin to comprehend having some of our gay friends getting gunned down for no other reason than being gay. Still seems unreal for most all of us well north of the 49th. We got a few whackos up here, but they're mostly crooks shooting other crooks. And I'll take that.ReplyDelete
Thank you for posting this, Mary. And thank you for calling us all to words and action, Hank. We love you. Fuck guns and death and hatred and intolerance.ReplyDelete
Bravo, Hank...I thought the same thing when Prick Scott and other politicians spoke.ReplyDelete
When anyone's safe space is desecrated, we all lose something. Thank you for your
honesty and insight. What a tragic day.
Thank you, Hank. I was struck dumb by the violence today. Thank you for giving me the right words.ReplyDelete
thank you hank!ReplyDelete
shared in the feral mitten.
I'm still too shocked to say much about this. But I am here. And I am one of the people that will not stand for this shit. Whether it be a hate crime or a terrorist attack, or like in this case, both. I won't stand for it.ReplyDelete
Thank you Hank for writing this . What happened is incomprehensibly horrific.ReplyDelete
Beautifully said. Thank you, Hank!ReplyDelete
Yes, very well said.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Hank
The NRA needs to be held accountable for every fucking gun death in this country. This country has not always been consumed with this insanity with guns. whichever Supreme Court it was that succumbed to the pressure of the gun lobby did no favors to this country. The NRA and it's lobby need to be designated a terrorist organization. and of course sales of assault weapons spiked after the massacre.ReplyDelete
I can understand why you are proud of this son of yours.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you posted this, Mary.ReplyDelete
What a brave, articulate and intelligent son you have.
Hank, your words spoke for a segment of our society that gives us so much. The world would not be balanced without our gay community. We need what you all bring to the spectrum. I am appalled at the discrimination that can exist in a tragedy like this - it is simply inhumane.
And I wish a whole lot more people could read your words.
Thank you, Hank.ReplyDelete
You are so smart, and so heart-felt. As your dear Mom says, Bless your heart!
I am queer, and part of the community, and have queer neighbours, and a lovely garden and dear friends.
Thank you for speaking. I take you into my heart.
Amazing words as are those of A Man Walks Into A Bar. Should be read far and wide. Would Hank put them on a FB post? If he does let me know and I will share in the UK. People are gathering in London's Gay Village in Soho now for a vigil in Solidarity. Also across the UK and the World. Wish there was more that we could do than stand with you. Shake some sense into your Govt and the NRA and this ridiculous right for people to have these type of guns. I would say all guns but surely at least getting rid of these machine gun things that can kill so many people at once would help? I don't know really. It is heartbreaking. Maggi xxxReplyDelete
Dearest Hank and Mary,ReplyDelete
As you can well imagine, the news reached this household too and wasn't very well received. It's a terrifying time for our LGBTQ sons and daughters.
I'm not saying America needs to be more like Canada, but goddamn it, y'all need to get someone in office who will take the guns off the goddamn streets there. Every time I hear of a mass shooting, it starts with "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of _________." Thoughts and prayers aren't going to do shit, you need action and rules to stop the goddamn madness.
As the mother of a trans gay son, I worry every damn day about my kid being hurt. I can't even imagine what the mothers of all those victims are going through. The agony. The sorrow. The frustration that their kids were able to carve out a space in the world where they could be safe and some "religious" person decided to take it away.
I agree that everyone who is LGBTQ needs their allies to stand tall and proud for them and be the voices that help stop this madness. Those our our kids, our brothers, our sisters and they need us.
There is a Go Fund Me page for the Pulse Nightclub victims. They are trying to raise $2.5 million. They have raised $2 million so far. Please help if you are able.ReplyDelete
Thank you Hank. You said all that needed to be said in ways that less articulate of us could not have said. I love you and I will take action on this.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your words, Hank, and thank you Mary for sharing them. It is just too much. I am once again filled with sorrow and despair for this country, for all humanity. That moment in time when our babies were slaughtered in Sandy Hook Elementary School and we turned our backs and DID NOTHING, I knew. We will NEVER do anything to change this and these horrific events will keep happening. But thank you Hank for reminding me that all I can really do is look around in my own life and be kind and love, find someone who needs a hug or a helping hand. And to do it NOW. TODAY. As Obama said, "To actively do nothing, is a decision as well."ReplyDelete
Peace and Love to All,
Thank you, Hank. I don't know what is worse--the shock of the killings or the horrible hatred that is now spewing in the aftermath. Fifty people who have families and friends will not get to see them again. And all I am hearing in this god awful conservative right wing state is how there needs to be racial profiling and killing of Muslims. WTF. Anyway, peace to you.ReplyDelete
You're queer, you're here and we love you. It's the guns, yes, but it is even more the hate. Back on the island when I was young and dumb I knew a beautiful young boy who was just a little different. And that can be hard when you live on a 8 square mile Caribbean island. He got up and moved to NYC and now Bianka is so fabulously happy and living her full, creative and loving life. Stonewall had a lot to do with that. Love you Hank for all that you say and do and for all that you are. I hope the world gets it soon.ReplyDelete
Hank, you are brilliant. You have your mother's gift of words. I am sitting here trying to think of something to say but there is nothing I can add.ReplyDelete
There is no part of this city that was not affected by this horrendous act. I really am at a loss for words. Just such a horrible thing. GailReplyDelete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
So well said, on this sad dark day.ReplyDelete
Thanks for reading and considering and helping out, y'all.ReplyDelete