A Message of Love from Somos Familia in the Wake of Orlando Shooting

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To Our Latina/o/x Queer and Trans Community and their Familias,

We at Somos Familia are writing to send our love and support to our Latino/a/x Queer and Trans community members and their families in the wake of the Orlando attack. We are a group of families with Latino/a/x LGBTQ children. Somos Orlando.

We grieve for those whose lives were taken and send our love and support to their families and others who will miss them dearly. We also send our love to the many people who are dealing with physical and emotional injuries from the attack.

Our entire community is dealing with heartbreak, anger, fear and much more. 90% of the victims were of Latina/o/x descent. We see ourselves in the faces and names of the fallen and in the tears of their families. To all of our Latina/o/x Queer and Trans Community and Familias, we want you to know that you are not alone and that we are thinking of you. Please take care of yourselves and reach out for the support you may need.

We know that many of you are feeling targeted by this attack, and devastated by the loss of so many beautiful brown and black members of our community. This may bring out other traumas you have experienced as queer and trans people, as Latino/a/x people, and often as people who at some point have been displaced from your native countries and have been undocumented. We also know that being a queer or trans Latina/o/x sometimes means seeking refuge outside of our given family, with chosen family and in chosen spaces. We know you may feel hatred directed at you that is undeserved. We want to affirm that you deserve to be loved and respected as the beautiful people you are. You deserve to be safe and feel safe.

Familias, now more than ever, our Queer and Trans relations need love, acceptance, and support. If you have an LGBTQ child, or other family member, please ask them how they are doing, offer them a hug, and let them know that you are there for them.

Madres y padres, you may be scared for your child and worry that they aren’t safe. You may want to try to protect them by trying to change them or ask them to stop hanging out with their LGBTQ friends. Please don’t try to change them. They need to be who they are, and they need their friends and community more than ever. We cannot allow fear to stop our children from being free. This would only push them away, lose their trust and break apart our families. Queer and trans people need to be who they are. It’s not a choice. It’s not a phase. It’s not a disease.

Maybe you have a child who wants to come out, but is afraid to tell you that they are LGBTQ. They may be going through a really hard time right now and feel very, very, alone. Please make it as easy for them as you can. Even if it is hard for you to accept, let your child know that you love them no matter what.

As more and more news stories come out, we want to remind you that we are all resilient, we will heal as we know how to heal and continue on, pa’lante. As Gloria E. Anzaldúa once stated “Though we tremble before uncertain futures, may we meet illness, death and adversity with strength, may we dance in the face of our fears.” May we dance freely forever.

Abrazos fuertes y mucha solidaridad,
Somos Familia

Somos Familia is hosting a call this Saturday at 11am for Latina/o/x LGBTQ people, allies and family members.

It will be a space to talk about the impact of the shooting, our feeling and emotions, and get support from your extended familia.

The call will be bilingual and inter-generational. All respectful participants are welcome. Call in and talk in your preferred language or just listen, if that’s what you need. Let’s heal together so that we can continue to build the world we want to live in where we are all free.

Contact us for details at somosfamiliabay@hotmail.com.