I ran the Mixed and Queer workshop on Saturday June 11, 2016 at the Mixed Remixed Festival in Los Angeles. In the early hours of the next morning a mass shooting took place at a Latin night at ‘Pulse’, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Later that day I wrote to the people who came to the workshop – here’s an edited excerpt from our correspondence.
Shanti banner at Orlando Memorial, San Francisco
“We’re writers who came together in a mixed/queer writing workshop. And today our queer family in Florida is grieving.”
Hi all,The mixed/queer workshop was one of the highlights of the whole festival for me. I really enjoyed meeting you all/seeing you again – I loved hearing your introductions and the writing you were starting to share from the workshop.It was great to feel that sense of community with each other on Friday, and yesterday and then such a shock to hear the news about Orlando today, to know that while we were sleeping after our happy/emotional day and evening together, that this tragedy was happening across the other side of the country. From the coverage, it seemed to affect a lot of queer POC. (Name), I know you’re from Florida and were traveling back there today so I’m sure this is affecting you particularly.When events like this happen people have different reactions, feeling detached, tears, anger, grief. Sometimes people want to numb their minds, to be alone – to be together, we’ll all probably have different reactions.I want to encourage you to practice self-care tonight (whatever that looks like for you), and over the next few days. We’re all writers who came together in a mixed/queer writing workshop. And today our queer family in Florida is grieving. I want to leave you with one more prompt. “Write about your reaction to the news/coverage of the shooting at a gay club in Florida”. Take 10 minutes for this, you may want to set a timer (and grab a box of kleenex).If you find it helpful, and want to share, please reply all. I’m thinking of the bereaved folks in Florida tonight, and also of all of you too.take care of yourselves,Clare
Hey all,Anna and I are hanging out today. We wanted to say thank you Clare for reaching out. We’re thinking about you all. Very grateful for the queer/trans space we held at the mixed event-carving out qtpoc space for us.Anna said that this weekend as a whole was a reminder for her that we’re still subject to violence, and she’s grateful we wrote, shared and laughed in community together. For her, despite the violence both micro and macro, Saturday was a reminder of how necessary we are to one another, whether in person or online, and she’s proud of us for sharing ourselves, our lives with each other.I want to echo what she said and also name how grateful I am for the queer/trans workshop at the mixed event. I hope everyone’s taking care of themselves and honestly I don’t really know what to say. You all are sacred and beautiful and I’m grateful we met.<3 Anna and Hiro
****“I have been quiet on the email thread …due to… feeling at a loss for the right words”
Hi Clare,Thanks for starting this thread and for reaching out to us all in the immediate aftershock of the attack in Orlando. I, too, am grateful to you for initiating and fostering the continuation of mixed, queer space at the festival, but I have been quiet on the email thread in part due to overwhelm and feeling at a loss for the right words.Emily*****
by Clare Ramsaran