Trigger warning for: response to events in Orlando/Pulse, trauma within queer communities. Hold yourself (and eachother) tenderly in the coming months, my loves.

(written directly following Orlando/Pulse shooting):

Alone in the basement my ma and I are staying at in Portland and watching NBC coverage on Orlando, feeling chest deep in grief like a granite mudslide, pressure on my heart and lungs like heart failure, the loss of my first queer chosen family member to meth-self hatred-family estrangement, the loss of a nearly a whole generation and a whole way of life to the AIDS epidemic, loss of so many incredibly vibrant trans women (most black and brown) to bashings-murders-imprisonment-deportations-suicide, the loss of those forced into the closet by the forced vulnerability of interdependence (very young-very old-living with illness or disability—why it is so important that those who do care work support the autonomy of those they care for).

And I am crushed by silence. I have had ONE straight friend touch base with me to ask if I am ok, how they can support me/other latinx queers/queers of color right now. You waved your rainbow flags for marriage because you thought it the best thing, that we finally win the right to be just like you. But we’re not! I’m not, anyway. I am devoutly and proudly culturally queer: a culture that grew in direct opposition to compulsory heterosexuality. How could I be the same as that rigidity? I am the same as you most in my difference, in the diversity of experience and belief in my communities.

But please, move up for me! I need you now. We need you. We need you to speak and vote against transphobic laws like HB2 and 1515, to talk to your family and friends about hatred (and moving beyond acceptance or tolerance to embrace, to RESPECT), to lift up our voices beyond the walls of our communities, to escort us into the bathroom so we can pee safely, to fight against the criminalization of homelessness, poverty, black and brown bodies.

Please don’t just wave a rainbow flag for a single victory, light one lavender candle in silent lip service to grief, and call it good. You have not served change if decoration is your only demonstration. There is so much more change to be won. And I’ve seen you—you have a lot of light in you, are capable of so much.

Move with me, take this grief as an invitation to dance!




Hannah was a bird-boned woman, bitter to the point of cruelty, and in it not unlike my own mother, but without the insight that ushers change. clunk. A haver of violence, a maker of fists. A mother of six.

I always thought that after Hannah’s death we would be released from her curse on our family. clunk. the inventor of so many tragedies. clunk. but now all I feel is an angry and hollow kind of grief. clunk. an ice chest in mine. clunk. A hole where our collective presence as a family should have been–but isn’t. clunk. A hole dug not by a person. clunk. but the bedrock-frayed blades of a shovel and a scythe, paired. clunk. colonialism and the continuity of trauma. clunk.

Now, it ends with me. clunk. I lay you to rest. clunk. I only use bitter herbs to clean.

I commit to life, to healing, to kindness–especially to those closest to me, the home that I build every day with heart in my hands: a strung skin, a heaving drum, the point of maximal impulse.