One of the few redeeming qualities of the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history — which left 50 people dead and 53 others injured at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Sunday morning — is the tremendous showing of support and solidarity the victims have attracted from around the world.
This open letter, written by a group of Asian-American parents of LGBTQ children, is one of the more touching statements to emerge.
It was published online Tuesday, and signed by representatives from the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance — described on the group's website as a nationwide federation of LGBT Asian and Pacific Islander organizations.
"We, the Asian American Parents Who Love Our LGBTQ Kids, are heartbroken about the Orlando tragedy," it begins — and goes on to make very clear what a globally felt, cross-cultural tragedy Sunday's massacre truly was.
Here are some of the key quotes from the letter:
"We wanted to write this letter, because we know that many of our LGBTQ community members are hurting, and many of their parents are scared for their safety," the authors of the letter told Mic in a joint statement via email. "We thought that hearing from parents of LGBTQ children would be comforting to them."
"I wanted to support others who might be going through as hard a time as I was, including my son," Clara Yoon, one of the authors, added.
"When I see the young people who have died, I can't help but think of my son," said Mayeno, another author. "When I see the mothers mourning for their children, I can imagine their pain. I want to be there for them."
"We thought that hearing from parents of LGBTQ children would be comforting to them."
Part of what makes the note so powerful is its refusal to deny the victims their intersectional identities.
Such showings of support highlight how this tragedy has reverberated throughout queer communities worldwide — and the multitudes of allies and others who stand with Orlando in the wake of this tragedy.
It openly acknowledges these were not just victims, but primarily queer victims. And not just queer victims, but Latino queer victims — the massacre occurred at Pulse nightclub on Latin night, and according to reports, a majority of those who lost their lives were Hispanic.
Read the full letter below:
We, the Asian American Parents Who Love Our LGBTQ Kids, are heartbroken about the Orlando tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, both given and chosen, especially their parents. Our thoughts are with those who were injured and are still fighting for their lives and those who are suffering emotional trauma. Our hearts go out to our LGBTQ community that is shaken by this horrible news and the loss of their friends and community members, particularly in the Latina/o community.
We support our LGBTQ children and we are proud of who they are. However, we are concerned because we know this world is not 100% safe for them. We condemn this type of unthinkable, senseless violence against the LGBTQ community. Our children are not people to be extinguished, they are loved and cherished and deserve to live their lives fully without hatred and bigotry.
We also stand in solidarity with Muslim families, especially parents with queer Muslim children. Many of our South Asian families are from Muslim backgrounds and they are our siblings in this fight against homophobia and transphobia. Our hearts are with our LGBTQ South Asian and Muslim community members who are reeling in pain from yesterday's attack and feeling the combined pain of Islamophobia, homophobia and racism. We stand in solidarity with you.
If you are the parent of an LGBTQ child and are having a hard time, we urge you to reach out to other parents for support. Even if you are struggling to accept your LGBTQ children, this is time when your child needs your understanding and support. Reach out to your child and share your fear and worries but do let them know you would be there for them. Our children need our unconditional love and may need our shoulders to cry on.
We support our queer API community and stand behind you. If you are not out to your own parents and family members, you may not be able to talk about your own feelings and feel more isolated. Please seek out support from your chosen family and supportive friends. We are also here if you need someone to talk to.
This is a time we need to hold each other and be there for each other. This is a time we renew our commitment to continue fight for equality of our children and their community. We vow to hold our ground and be more vocal and visible because we love our queer API children.
In love and solidarity,
Clara Yoon, API Rainbow Parents in PFLAG NYC
Laurin Mayeno, Out Proud Families
Marsha Aizumi, San Gabriel Valley API PFLAG