It’s been over a week since it happened, but the world is still trying to register the shock of the attack in Orlando that left 49 dead and even more injured. Though many details are still under investigation, it is clear that the tragedy was targeted toward members of the LGBT community, with the shooting itself being carried out in the gay nightclub Pulse.
Today, Frank Ocean (a self-identifying member of the LGBT community) has posted a moving reflection on his Tumblr, addressing the situation.
Ocean made a very public announcement outing himself as bisexual shortly before the release of his breakthrough album Channel Orange in 2012, though he has remained fairly quiet on matters concerning the community in the years since. However, his statement on the shooting is a passioned response to the renewed climate of fear and persecution that he and other LGBT citizens everywhere now face. Of particular note is an anecdote of his past with his distant father, an early example of the rage that LGBT people too often face.
See the note on his Tumblr, or read the full text below:
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?
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- Cover Image: Pitchfork