BAS PRIDE: Contigo and Pulso de Amor Continúa for Orlando Tonight & Sat.
My mother had called me this past Sunday morning to inform me of the incomprehensible horror we all woke up to: 49 people had been mowed down in a gay bar in Orlando, with 53 brutally injured. In the hours that followed, as I read updates and watched report after report, facts came together in the awful haze: the victims were mostly young Latinx kids, dancing after a drag show during a Pride event. We would see photos and Snapchats of happy faces, kisses and embraces only to be followed by terrified texts and heartbreaking pleas from loved ones.
I immediately thought of so many nights in bars and clubs spent in the company of friends and lovers. Flashing lights and beautiful beings locked in rhythm with each other. Favourite songs playing against balmy evenings and holding someone deeply loved close as the lights, sweat, laughter and music swirled around, followed by so many make out sessions and more. To think of how quickly that could have been shattered. To see the love of your life die before your eyes; your best friend in abject terror; to lose all your family in an instant.
I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.
David Campos hit it home on Sunday when he said that when he first went to Esta Noche, it was as though two parts of him had finally come together. The first time I went to Esta Noche (and later bars like Futura, or Franco’s, or Le Barcito, or M.J.’s) it was the same exact feeling. Negotiating gay bars had been an awkward exercise after coming out. In West Hollywood and, later the Castro, I had been either a token object of interest or made to feel like a pariah. When I went to Esta Noche for the first time, it felt strangely familiar. Almost like I had been there before. The anxiety I had felt at other “mainstream” places seemed to dissipate.
Now a different kind of anxiety hangs over us: a fear, punctuated by recurrent, deep sadness and crying.
It has been a terrible realization that this annihilation of our queer Latinx family came almost exactly a year after the mural “Por Vida” was repeatedly vandalized and eventually incinerated. The simple act of love, an embrace, a kiss was used as justification for arson then and, now, a massacre. Many of us were terrified then, but what now? If something of this magnitude can get whitewashed nationally, what should we expect next? When the fact that the victims of this nightmare were QPOC takes a back seat even on a local level, what does our community’s future hold?
Which is why the queer Latinx community of San Francisco is banding together now as we did then. When you do not like the narrative someone has written for you, you take away the pen. Pride was started by Latinx queers- we hold the rights.
So whether your gente or an ally, there are two ways you can start this year’s Pride by honoring those we lost in Orlando:
Hard French will be hosting a special fundraiser for the victims, “Contigo” at El Río tonight at 7 p.m. with nightlife heavyweights from across our spectrum joining together. Music will be courtesy of the like of Brown Amy, Olga T and Brontez Purnell, performances by queens such as Dulce de Leche, Yves St. Croissant and Persia, visual installations by Homochic and an altar by the Black Salt Collective.
On Saturday, the Galería de la Raza has assembled a stunning array of Bay Area LGBTQ allies and artists to gather in front of this year’s Pride mural to hold a vigil, “El Pulso de Amor Continúa” for our brothers and sisters in Orlando. Folks will be gathering at 4 p.m. with a special contingent marching from the Castro. There will be dancing, music and speakers such as Lito Sandoval and Olga Talamante.
Especially in these days that follow, with the hatred being spewed from all sides, the petty machinations and photo ops of politicians across the country and locally, and the fear and anxiety we all feel, it is all the more important that we come together an stand for those who can no longer stand, kiss for those who can no longer kiss, dance for those who can no longer dance, and love for all of those whose love will always be in our hearts, our pulse.
Contigo: A Latinx Fundraiser For Our Brothers and Sisters in Orlando
Thursday, June 16, 2016 7:00 p.m. – Midnight
El Río….your dive!
3158 Mission Street (@ Precita)
[Outer Mission/ Bernal Heights]
Sliding scale (NOTAFLOF)
Pulso de Amor Continúa
(A Vigil for Orlando)
Saturday, June 18, 2016 4:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Galería de la Raza
2857 24th Street (@ Bryant)