On June 12, 2016, social media was a chaotic twister of emotions: worry, suspense, grief, and anger, amongst others, whirled around the internet as news reports confirmed 49 deaths and 53 injuries at Pulse Night Club; the worst mass shooting in America to date. A little over a year later, as queer souls dance through the end of Pride Month, the one-year anniversary of the Pulse massacre remains a throbbing pain in the social media-verse. Even a year later, the emotions stirred up on the night of the Pulse massacre are still raw, especially within the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities. Responses to the Pulse massacre on Twitter and Tumblr on its one-year anniversary, highlight not only the different ways in which people consume and digest media, but also the apparent need for an intersectional approach to issues regarding marginalized communities.
The Twitter-verse was primarily flooded with posts mourning the victims of Pulse while showing support for the LGBTQ+ community through pictures of vigils and memorials and the hashtag, #PulseNightClub. Although the support is appreciated, it is important to note that the majority of posts under #PulseNightClub fail to mention that the victims were primarily Latinx and the additional layers of grief, worry, and frustration within the queer Latinx community regarding the racist and xenophobic sentiments behind the Pulse massacre.
Many posts also showed frustration towards the lack of strict gun laws in America, comparing the Pulse massacre to the Sandy Hook shooting and calling for political measures to end gun violence.
Tumblr posts also showed solidarity towards the LGBTQ+ community with images of Pulse and the hashtags #PrayForOrlando and #OrlandoUnited. While these posts tended to claim the Pulse massacre as strictly an attack on the LGBTQ+ community, other posts recognized that there was a greater layer of fear and grief for LGBTQ+ people of color, specifically queer Latinx individuals. On Tumblr, there was a larger group of users who identified the risks that queer POC face by simply existing in a world that continually marginalizes and condemns them as sinners, aliens, and ultimately, unwanted. The amount of solidarity shown towards queer POC on Tumblr was heartwarming. It is sometimes difficult to find genuine concern and support within the whirlwind of anonymity and scattered opinions on social media, but when and where it exists, it is powerful and reassuring.
Although Pride Month has ended, we will continue to celebrate queer existence and fight for those who live at the crossroads of multiple marginalized identities. As we continue to traverse the sea of social media, most of us behind the comfortable walls of anonymity, it is important to remember that blind solidarity, support for the sake of support, is not enough to dismantle the systems of oppression that continue to take the lives of marginalized individuals while keeping them on the fringes of society. Stay educated and stay aware.