By Tristan Leach
IF you’ve never listened to track 11 on the “Queen + Adam Lambert Live Around The World” album, I recommend it. The song is “Who Wants to Live Forever,” and before the song starts Adam Lambert says, “ This song is dedicated to those that lost their life last night, in Orlando, Florida and anybody that has been victim of senseless violence or hatred.”
Lambert is referring to the Pulse Nightclub shooting that took place in 2016. Pulse is an LGBTQ+ nightclub that many went to in hopes of finding a community and a safe space. Instead, 50 people lost their lives due to a senseless act. Since then, many LGBTQ+ safe spaces have been targeted in a string of shootings which has led to a loss of safety, connections and the lives of friends and family.
Queer people are no strangers to violence, discrimination and hate. Just as America is no stranger to gun violence and mass shootings. The unfortunate truth is that hate and easy access to violent weapons have resulted in hateful acts. Just last year the Club Q shooting rocked the nation. Five people died and two people inside the club subdued the shooter. There were thoughts and prayers posted online and that was the end of it.
However, for those of us who are queer this was not so easily forgotten. As a lesbian growing up in the 21st century, these events impact my mental health and my sense of safety in queer defined spaces. It would be safer for my queer friends and I to stay at home than go out. It would be safer to throw our own dance party than to go to an LGBTQ+ club. It would be safer to miss out on life than lose ours.
Yes, everyday we take risks when we step outside our homes. The world is full of dangers and sometimes you have to take risks, but sometimes the risk is too high and there is no reward. There will be no memories, no reminiscing if the risk turns out to be in vain.
LGBTQ+ people and other minorities have to work harder to have a space of their own. We are valuable, we are worthy of safety, we are worthy of the life we were given when we came into this world. So when our safe spaces are violated, our people are hurt, our lives torn apart, we have no faith and we are left to pick up the pieces.
I think about my queer elders who came before me. They had to face violence and hate to create the spaces that we have now. Artists, activists, mothers, fathers, cousins, brothers and sisters, came together to create spaces that no longer feel safe. Our elders must watch as their next of kin suffers the same pain as them. Our elders must watch as the violence continues and our spaces are no longer safe.
As I write this I am listening to “Who Wants to Live Forever.” I think of how Freddie Mercury created a space that Adam Lambert now takes up. Freddie and Queen became many people’s safe spaces. Brian May, who wrote the song and is the guitarist for Queen, found a way for Freddie to live forever. Freddie, a queer icon and gay man, will live forever simply because he was a safe space.
Who wants to live forever? Us, we, the LGBTQ+ community do.