Orlando, by Wash Silk
When I came into work this morning I read that the deadliest mass shooting in United States history has happened, killing 50 LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies in Orlando. This fills me with such deep sadness and anger. I worry that violence like this will make some LGBTQ+ people so silent that they will feel they can never come out of the closet. I worry that our sense of ally ship and community will lose its meaning. However, my hope is stronger than my fear. My hope is that people come together as a community to mourn and heal, to create connections and recognize that we have the power to support each other through this hurt. During this Pride Month and the Holy Month of Ramadan, may we come together as a diverse, beautiful community to foster strength and healing in the face of this tragedy.
What can we do?
We can talk about it.
Counselling at KW Counselling Services (480 Charles St. East Kitchener). You can arrange a counselling appointment by calling 519.884.0000.
Walk In Counselling Clinic – You can also come to our Walk in Counselling Clinic, open every Thursday from 12-6pm.
Here 24/7 – If you are in a crisis situation, or need help, please call the Here 24/7 Crisis Line at 1.844.437.3247 immediately! Someone is there who can help.
Trans Lifeline – Trans Lifeline is a non-profit dedicated to the well being of transgender people. They run a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people. Trans Lifeline volunteers are ready to respond to whatever support needs members of our community might have. Canada: 1.877.330.6366 US: 1.877.565.8860
You can talk about it at home with your family, at work with your coworkers, at school with your friends. You can reach out to your LGBTQ+ friends and coworkers to ask how they are doing.
For the parents of LGBTQ+ children and youth who read the news, feel overwhelmed and worried about how your children will react, you are not alone. This can be a scary thing to talk about with your LGBTQ+ child but it is okay and helpful to do so. Remember, often parents need to bring it up first before a child may feel comfortable talking about it. They likely need some help understanding what happened and how they can stay safe. You can acknowledge your children’s’ fears and concerns and reassure them of their safety. For yourself, it’s good to get support and perhaps reach out to other parents too. Also know that sometimes it is an event like this that allows parents and kids to voice fears or grief they have been keeping inside. Here are two great resources to help guide you in this conversation, an interview with psychologist Dr. Janet Taylor on this tragedy on how to talk with your children about this and a special newsletter by the LGBTQ Parenting Network aimed at providing guidance about talking about this within LGTBQ families, you can find it here.
We can build a sense of community.
If you want to feel a sense of community you can also reach out to the Region of Waterloo’s Rainbow Community space, SPECTRUM, to engage in LGBTQ+ events and receive support. SPECTRUM is a safe space for our community. Programming, social groups, special projects, research, events, resources, a DVD library – SPECTRUM is the center of our rainbow community.
You can also seek out Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Coalition (WRRC), a volunteer-based community association that acts as a central hub for the local Rainbow community. WRRC brings together various stakeholders from across the Region. Their emphasis is on building partnerships and working collaboratively to meet the needs of the Rainbow community. http://yourwrrc.ca
We can come together.
Tonight, Tuesday June 14th at 8:00pm you are invited to come to Kitchener’s Civic Square where we will come together as a community to focus on unity and inclusion.
“SPECTRUM in partnership with the City of Kitchener, Tri-Pride and the Muslim community will be holding an event focused on Unity and Inclusion as a response to the recent violence against LGBTQ people at the Orlando Pulse Nightclub.
We recognize that this violence that has occurred during Pride month and the Holy month of Ramadan affects us all and it is by standing strong in our diversity and caring for one another that we heal through such tragedy.” Click here for more information.
There will also be a candlelight Vigil June 16th hosted by the Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Coalition and The Order in Waterloo Town Square at 9:00pm. Click here for more information.
Together we are stronger. We shall overcome!