I spend my life running from an amalgamation of truths, poverty, race, queerness, Islamaphobia and gender. It is an epic race, running and running.
I have been running faster and faster the older I get, sweat running down my aging body as I jump over more and more hurdles – housing–running–health- running-education- running-work-running.
This week I was running my steady homeless queer pace, the pace keepers had long dropped out, since often solidarity often only stretches as far as personal loss, so there we all were, running and running and when someone said “there has been a shooting in Orlando”, and together we all slipped, fell and were dragged back by the ankles to attend a funeral.
We attended a funeral for 49 people this week. 49 people that never knew our names, but knew we existed.
This week it was harder than usual to be Queer, harder than usual to be Black, harder than usual to be LatinX, harder than usual to be Trans*, harder than usual to be Muslim. This week was a sobering week for many of us here in the UK, in London, and around the world.
This week I held strangers like babies as we sobbed together mourning our family, our lives and the coping mechanisms we had stitched together that had been shattered by the newsfeed, shattered by 49 dead at Pulse.
This was a sobering week for the “look mamma no hands” of us that had been running around living “free” and saying “I am safe mum”. This was a sobering week for us who have been running around saying, “look, queer Muslims do exist”. This week was a sobering week for those of us who have been screaming that “look mamma, I can go out and listen to Reggaeton and be me”. This has been a hard hard week for those of us in the closet.
This week I have seen every QTIPoC I know struggle with their mental health, be it a tear on their face, the grip on their 20th cigarette, the lack of “lol” on their whatsapp message, this week has been a week where I have watched the media paint my community white, and sat next to people at work wondering why they were not screaming. This week, queers have cried in the toilets of buildings, and brave faced it out the stalls back to their desk.
This week I have hugged my friends hard, held their faces and said “I am happy to see you” and I have told all of my family I love them because this week I attended a funeral, and I know why.
Zinzi Minott is a dancer.
She makes works about her life and the lives of those she loves.
She is a third of the recent project The Rebel Man Standard, and is currently working on a new piece WKOSWIB?