“Do you have to shove it in our faces like that?”

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This started out as a reply to this post, but it got long, so I thought I’d better just make my own.

I read the news that morning on my phone, while my girlfriend snuggled against my back, still half asleep. I had the same impulse– to delay telling her as long as I could. To let her morning contain at least a few more minutes of peace.

Then I told her, and I turned and sobbed in her arms.

My husband and his girlfriend came home later that morning so we could all go to brunch. As we were getting ready to go, he asked me how I was doing. My reply was, “Did you see the news?”

He nodded silently, and I sat down and sobbed again in his arms.

We joke sometimes, my partners and I, about going out to restaurants and shocking people. My boyfriend, girlfriend and I all holding hands together, or kissing each other one after the other. The worst that has ever happened in our little liberal enclave in Seattle is a dirty look or two. We always laugh.

It never occurred to me before now that our public show of love could make targets out of people we don’t even know; that those mental calculations mentioned in another post I just reblogged contain vastly, infinitely more variables. That some bigot could become “enraged” by us and be “set off” to commit mass violence. (Those words, as if we *did* something to bring it on ourselves, a million echoes of you must have done something to anger him, if you’d just be quiet, if you’d just not flaunt it in our faces.) That afternoon I actually had the thought cross my mind of “maybe I shouldn’t go out, what if an event here is targeted too.”

That’s how terrorism works, of course. That’s what terrorism is constantly trying to do to people of color, to Jewish people, to women, to disabled people, to queers. Be afraid, be hidden, be silent, and if you won’t be silent we’ll hurt you, kill you, destroy you if that’s what it takes to silence you. Make you not exist.

(I had a point. I think maybe I got lost.)

What I’ve got left is this: we ARE gonna flaunt it in your faces. We’re gonna keep shoving it in everyone’s faces until we are allowed to just fucking exist. 

I am here for absolutely every marginalized group to keep flaunting it in my face and yours and theirs and everyone’s until we are all just allowed to goddamned exist without having to justify or defend our presence or our lives.

 You do what feels right to keep yourself safe, always, but if you’re out there flaunting your existence in my face, I’ll be out here cheering for you.