Essays — June 14, 2016 4:23 — 2 Comments

Post-Pulse Rallying Cry

Although it was a lovely gesture, we didn’t need President Obama to officially declare June LGBTQ Pride Month this year. From the first Pride Parade in June of 1970 to the legislative victories granting marriage equality in 2013, this month has always been a time for queers to celebrate our community’s beautiful, hard-won freedoms. And love. The way that only we can love.

But there’s a catch. Each victory carries us further from the fucked up, riotous place in which our community was born. It was not so long ago that queer America experienced our first mass killing, the AIDS epidemic, with a President at the helm who refused to even speak its name. And it was not so long ago that we marched, scarred and somber, down Christopher Street in the first Pride parade, relieved that we could walk, rather than riot, as one.

Pride today is a glittery Carnivàle, attended by folks who’ve earned military and marital inclusion. Some call this progress, others assimilation. Either way, our movement cannot be defined as revolutionary if each victory results in increasing complacence. Just because you can’t always taste the ashes on your tongue doesn’t give you permission to forget that it was from those ashes you arose.

Once again, June is upon us, and with it, another unspeakable tragedy. While our wounds are fresh, let’s remember how our community was born in a bar. How queer people who suffered violence, oppression, and closetedness could step inside the Stonewall Inn or any of the queer bars like it in the days to come, and there, among friends and lovers, be beautiful and free. Our queer ancestors battled brutality and imprisonment to ensure that our community could continue in these sacred spaces for generations to come. And now, in the wake of the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub, perpetrated by another hate-driven, would-be cop, the torch of our ancestors has truly been passed. The hatred of queer people, people of color, and of faith, and the unchecked gun violence increasingly directed their way—THIS is our Stonewall. Not serving in the military. Not marriage equality. THIS. The right to gather in communal spaces without fear of an AR-15 rifle making its way to the dance floor. Or the classroom. Or the clinic. Or the church.

To all my brothers, sisters, and allies who are suffering, I send you great love.
The spirit of Stonewall is in you.
The vitality of ACT-UP is in you.
The strength gained in coming out, the intelligence applied to revolutionary legislation, the bravery and empathy of soldiering daily into a violent, homophobic world is in you.
The radiance of the universe is in you.
You are a born warrior.
And once again, you are this country’s best chance for revolution.

This is a call to the LGBTQ community to unite, like never before, in the name of gun control. In the name of those who died and were wounded at Pulse. And finally, in the fierce and indefatigable spirit of Pride, which even in this dark time, burns brighter than ever before.

Here are some simple ways that you can begin, today, to take action:

Sign the Petition:

Learn About Gun Safety:

Honor the Victims:


Contact Your Representatives:


Piper Daniels is a poet, a graduate of the University of Washington MFA program and a wonderful dancer.


  1. Kate Burns says:

    Thank you, Piper. This is right on.

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The answer isn't poetry, but rather language

- Richard Kenney