Days roll by, but we are all still mourning the Pulse nightclub tragedy. As conflicting reports continue to come in about the shooter, they tear off the emotional scabs that had begun to form and fill us with more grief, a different kind of grief.
Many celebrities have reached out to their fans who were affected both directly and indirectly by the shooters, but few if any have come close to the message that Frank Ocean (who came out in 2012) wrote on his Tumblr. In it, he reflects on the first time he consciously witnessed transphobia and heard the “F” word (the other one) and shares the hatred that he witnessed, as well as questions about experiencing G-d.
Frank Ocean’s Deeply Humane, Personal Response
“I read in the paper that my brothers are being thrown from rooftops blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs for violating sharia law. I heard the crowds stone these fallen men if they move after they hit the ground. I heard it’s in the name of God. I heard my pastor speak for God too, quoting scripture from his book. Words like abomination popped off my skin like hot grease as he went on to describe a lake of fire that God wanted me in. I heard on the news that the aftermath of a hate crime left piles of bodies on a dance floor this month. I heard the gunman feigned dead among all the people he killed. I heard the news say he was one of us. I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty. That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn’t shock me if it wasn’t. Many hate us and wish we didn’t exist. Many are annoyed by our wanting to be married like everyone else or use the correct restroom like everyone else. Many don’t see anything wrong with passing down the same old values that send thousands of kids into suicidal depression each year. So we say pride and we express love for who and what we are. Because who else will in earnest? I daydream on the idea that maybe all this barbarism and all these transgressions against ourselves is an equal and opposite reaction to something better happening in this world, some great swelling wave of openness and wakefulness out here. Reality by comparison looks grey, as in neither black nor white but also bleak. We are all God’s children, I heard. I left my siblings out of it and spoke with my maker directly and I think he sounds a lot like myself. If I being myself were more awesome at being detached from my own story in a way I being myself never could be. I wanna know what others hear, I’m scared to know but I wanna know what everyone hears when they talk to God. Do the insane hear the voice distorted? Do the indoctrinated hear another voice entirely?”
With deep expressions of grief, love, and self-exploration, we can be reminded of the beauty within destruction, the hope that comes along with rebuilding, and the incredible art that comes in times of great loss. It is likely to get much worse before it gets better and it feels as though everything is beginning to come to a head. The only way to overcome it is to keep addressing these issues and fighting within the struggle for our rights.
With voices like Ocean’s, it all feels a little more possible.