I was at home, getting ready to send this piece to Megaphone’s editor, when I found out about the shootings in Orlando. As someone who lived in southern Florida most of her childhood, the shootings hit very close to home. As a gay Latin woman, the news that someone had committed the largest mass shooting in the United States’ modern history in a gay bar on Latin night was a punch to the gut. The shooting was a reminder that while mainstream culture, predominantly in the entertainment industry, has become more embracing of LGBTQ2+ people and characters, there is still a long road ahead of us if we’re ever to overcome prejudice and lack of protection.
Sometimes it seems like for every step forward there is an equal if not greater push back to the starting line. Case in point, our southern neighbour has gone from having one of the best times so far—in terms of trans visibility in mainstream media, and legalizing same-sex marriage—to enacting the most anti-LGBTQ2+ bills in a single year in history. Not to mention, states without discrimination protection laws for LGBTQ2+ people currently outnumber those with protection—meaning the survivors of the shooting at Pulse nightclub could still get fired because of their sexual preference or gender identity.
Things are only slightly better in Canada: we’ve had marriage equality for about a decade, but as a country we have yet to amend our human rights code to include gender identity and gender expression.
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