Columbus Pride 2016.
“What does your sign mean?”
I was interviewed by the press four times, and they all asked the same question. At first, I didn’t know how to answer; how much more straight forward could it be? Stop. Killing. Us.
One woman asked me what message I was trying to get across. I stared at her, “Stop. Killing. Us.” I almost snapped as she shoved a microphone in my face for the third time that day, asking me the same question, none of them actually listening to my response. “But what does that mean?”
I took a breath, “It means I’m tired of being told to ‘be careful’ instead of 'have fun’ when I go to Pride events. I’m tired of seeing my community’s names as hashtags,” I flip my sign around. The back is covered in names of the Orlando shooting. All of them, “This is too many names,” I say to her, “And this is just one shooting. This number happens every day. Suicide of LGBTQ+ teens, murders of transgender individuals, bombs in bathrooms, Matthew Shepherd. Leelah Alcorn. These are just the ones who made the headlines,” I look at the reporter, “I want you to stop letting us die silently. Stop Killing Us.”
The Columbis Dispatch today has my picture in it. Underneath it is my name, 'She traveled from Cincinnati to celebrate pride!’ Is the caption.
I guess they thought that was safer.