It does not matter if the Orlando shooter was Muslim.
His identity does not justify islamophobia.
Our fear does not justify islamophobia.
Our trauma does not justify islamophobia.
Our sadness does not justify islamophobia.
Our heartbreak does not justify islamophobia.
Today, it is our obligation as a queer community to remember that islamophobia, homophobia, and transphobia work together.
Today, it is our obligation as queer people to proclaim that the same forces that marginalize queer people in the United States are used to marginalize Muslims.
Today, we need to remember that joy, love, and celebration are still possible; that queer and allied Muslims are an integral part of the queer community.
Today, we must stand together against the wave of prejudice, hatred, and violence sweeping our country.
Last night, just three hours before the attack began, I stopped at the bodega in my neighborhood for some ice cream. The Muslim couple who run the bodega were sitting behind the counter: the husband speaks English, and his wife is still learning. After I made my purchase, the husband translated on behalf of his wife:
"What lipstick are you wearing?" he asked.
"It's from Sephora, it's my favorite!" I responded.
His wife said something to him in Arabic, the same language that my grandparents spoke when they immigrated to the United States from Syria in the 1950s, the language that I do not speak but wish I could.
He turned to me: "She says that she likes your lipstick. She thinks that you look beautiful!"
Today, we mourn together.