Our 9/11 has happened.

My everyday heroes...Sophie Scholl, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Mahatma Gandhi...took a back seat that Sunday morning after Orlando. That Sunday, a Jewish holiday, the bulldog in me came out, a bulldog who is mad as hell and ready to fight.

The summer of 2016 will be remembered as a time to comfort, to bury our dead, to grieve...and then to fight. The blood of innocents has now been spilled in this chapter of the unending American culture war. Our very lives and freedom may depend upon total victory over the army of hate.

Let no one misunderstand: we are at war now and must adjust accordingly. This is for all the marbles.

The Supreme Court decision last year has stirred up a hornet’s nest not seen since the original Civil Rights movement. The same culture of bigots and nut jobs who fought African-Americans demanding their rights see their world changing at lightning speed and are reacting to our first major victory in a bitter multi-generational struggle.

The decision heralded not the coming end of our private little war, but the end of the beginning. The other side is hunkering down and entrenching their positions. We must prepare for our long hard slog to continue for many years to come. Times are good now, but anyone who remembers the transition from the Jimmy Carter presidency to the Reagan era will tell you...things can easily change for the worse...and fast. Our adversaries are just waiting their turn.

I do not equate local religious-minded folks who cannot support us because of their faith with this crowd. I feel sorry for them and wish they would take a closer look at what they have been taught. Our brothers and sisters in Orlando were ruthlessly gunned down by an evil bigot who just happened to be a practicing Muslim. Our Muslim allies and family, and we do have both, have come out locally at least to denounce this killer and express support for all of us. I take that at face value and will not equate mainstream Islam with LGBTQ-aimed bigotry accordingly. I truly hope you will not either.

This bastard could have been anyone. Just like ISIS, the bigot army recruits anyone who shares their dark worldview. The Nazis did this too. So does the Klan. Hate exists amongst all cultures and faiths. Everyone has their share of nut jobs. So do we. This is a sad part of real life.

We took a major hit last month. Let us be brutally honest about this: there was a high likelihood that something like this was going to happen...and may happen again. This attack was targeted at us...but evil people do not care who gets hurt. LGBTQ America is a soft target for anyone wanting their 15 seconds, or 15 days, of coverage on CNN.

We are proxies in a long-term culture war and there will be times when we will collectively be targeted, and not just with words anymore. There is not too much we can do to prevent the next occasion when bigotry goes for the jugular. We need to hunker down and endure this siege. Love will always win in the end, but we may have to dish out a tougher love to anyone who dares raise a hand...or firearm...against any of us. I certainly hope not and wish that nightmare scenario never comes.

We are not frightened weaklings. We are all strong. Very strong. You have to be if you live in this part of America. Down here, our backs are to the wall every day. The Southern part of LGBTQ nation knows how to fight as a result, and they’re pretty darn good at it. I pity the fool who violently challenges the Southern-raised members of our tribe... The result will not be pretty.

I thank G-ddess on a regular basis for my Southern-raised soulmate’s friendship and love. She has been a guardian angel and protector to this Yankee-Canuck trans woman for many years now. I fear nothing when in her company...and I learn to be stronger from her as the years roll by. Southern culture has its eccentricities, but it breeds brave and strong native daughters and sons. We can all learn from them...and learn to respect the culture they came from even if that culture repeatedly fails to respect us.

So let the bigots come out where we can see them. Our fight is up close and personal and we look forward to their challenge. We do not want them going back into their closets so they may harm any of us clandestinely. We want the stand-up fight at close quarters just like Wellington at Waterloo. We want that head-on attack because we know our thin rainbow-coloured line will hold...

Again, and again...and again. They cannot break us. We are far too strong.

It is now time to double down our efforts for freedom. We have strong allies who openly support us. We now need those allies who support our cause from behind the curtains to finally show themselves. We need all our quiet cousins who discovered their unrequested blessings in high school and college to speak up now. You do not have to be a card-carrying member of LBGTQ nation to back the cause. You do not have to like drag, disco or bars. You do not have to enjoy LBGTQ culture or progressive politics. You do not have to have a certain number of notches on your bedpost to soldier in this army. You just need to be willing to stand for something.

Now gird your armour. The last twelve months of intellectual combat with fools has made us stronger, not weaker. The massacre in Orlando will make us braver, not more fearful.

We are strong.

We are sisters and brothers.

We are not afraid.


Julie Chase is the pen name for a local 40-something trans woman. A graduate of The University of the South at Sewanee, she loves butterflies, strong women and the Austrian School of Economics.


This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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