The tragic massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando left the entire queer community and the entire country devastated and in a state of endless mourning. Emotional vigils have been held globally.
Every single event at New York City Pride I attended had extremely tearful, heartbreaking moments, where we all collectively mourned the harrowing loss of beautiful, innocent members of our sacred community.
The bodies of the innocent people have all been released to next of kin, and even the body of the gunman Omar Mateen has been collected.
However, there is one man's body that has not been collected by his father. In fact, his father has flat out refused to collect his son's body. And that's because of the dire ugliness of hatred and homophobia.
While homophobia itself has no face, there has historically been a huge issue with queer shaming in the Latino community.
The Orlando Latino reports,
The tale is part of the untold stories of the Latino victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre.
The authorities haven't released the name of the man whose body was left behind as to not "further victimize" him, but it has been confirmed that he was indeed Puerto Rican. The site continues,
The pain of being Puerto Rican and gay is real... In the island's macho culture (relative to the States), anti-gay bias is not subtle and has reached the highest levels of government.
The Advocate commented that this kind of homophobia is not in any way new and goes back to the AIDS epidemic that killed the better part of a generation, "Countless numbers of young gay men died and family members did not claim the bodies of their so-called loved ones."
It's so devastating to think that a family member would ever leave their child's body behind, because they were so ashamed of their sexuality. If you peel back the layers of hate, the core of homophobia is and has always been shame. There is nothing more toxic in this world than shame. Shame is what causes us to hurt ourselves and it's what also causes people (like in this devastating case) to hurt others. There will be no reprieve until we rid ourselves of shame.
The victim, whose father refused to pick up his son's body, will always be loved and held by a greater family, his queer family. Sometimes your family isn't made up of members of your blood family, but something even stronger: your community.
There is no community that is stronger and more loving than the queer community, and we're a powerful force of nature that will forever mourn the death of every single one of the 49 victims of the Orlando Massacre.