it’s nearly the one year anniversary of the pulse nightclub shooting, and that alone is its own event to me and something i’ve written about extensively. it goes without saying, but the events of pulse mean so much to me as a young gay latinx man. it was a direct attack on my community. we were attacked in one of our only safe places. our temple was desecrated with the hate of prejudice. our nightclubs serve as a place where queer people can escape to have fun and live in their truth for at least one night.
earlier today, i was hit with the crushing news of the attack at ariana grande’s manchester concert and it felt like finding out about pulse all over again. it felt like another attack on me, but on another one of my identities.
i’ve found a safe haven in stan culture since middle school, something i’ve talked about a lot as well. it’s an integral part of my personality. i’ve found my comfort in it mainly because so much of stan culture and gay culture is intertwined. pop music is a thing filled with a beautiful energy. you can dismiss it as vapid, but for so many of us queer people, it’s empowering. it’s through our divas that many of us find ourselves.
today’s events broke my heart as a stan. it sounds cliché, but a concert can be a magical place where you can just immerse yourself in the one thing that brings you so much joy. for just one night, you’re surrounded in a beautiful energy from people who are just like you, a place where you can be yourself. to so many of us, concerts are also a queer safe place. there’s no feeling better than being able to be carefree yet feel accepted, dancing and screaming the words to all your favorite songs. it really can make you forgot the outside world for those 2 hours.
these kids were mercilessly attacked in their refuge. they attended that evening for a spectacle of music, dancing, and visuals. they went to finally see their idol in person, the girl that they love, that they spend their days admiring. they might have been counting down the days to their concert, like many of us do. in fact, it might have been many of their first concerts. but after their night, their lives were taken from them.
i am heartbroken tonight. it’s a jarring feeling to realize that in the span of less than a year, two of the biggest identities i have have been attacked in the only place we have to ourselves. the two identities i have that overlap and are deeply rooted in each other. as queer people, we already are given so little and we find our own havens. when those are attacked, it’s hard to think of where we’re going to go from here.