Mycroft Masada is a queer trans faith leader who moved to the Washington DC area of Maryland’s Montgomery County from their lifelong home of Boston in 2014. Mycroft co-chairs the MoCo Pride Center, is a TransFaith National Council member, a TransEpiscopal Steering Committee member and former Congregation Am Tikva board member. Mycroft is particularly called to pursue justice at the intersections of LGBTQI+ and fat communities, and is an advocate, organizer, consultant, educator, trainer, writer and artist. They are partnered with Julia McCrossin, the massculine fatshion blogger, and with her co-parents a dogter. Their central online home is MasadArts.blogspot.com.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Gaithersburg MD event re: Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando FL

The City’s photo of their Concert Pavilion – partly because I was verklempt enough at the event that I had a junior moment about taking photos.  But I think at least one attendee captured it on their phone. 

Tonight we held a community event here in Gaithersburg to recognize and start to process the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando – our official title was LGBTQ Vigil And Recognition of Pulse Massacre (and here is the Facebook event).

This may well be the only Orlando event in this city, which is my partner Julia’s hometown and our current home (I moved here two and a half years ago after a lifetime in Boston).  The lead organizer and MC was Jenny Armour, in partnership with some of her City Hall co-workers and others; Julia became one of the part-time Greeters at our city hall a few months ago.  The event was held at City Hall – the city was not an official sponsor, but they provided us with the Concert Pavilion including the sound system, and through a related connection we had two uniformed police officers attend.

One of the most significant things about the event was that it was led and largely attended by people of color, and primarily Latinx people.  While attendance was quite small -- mainly due to scheduling conflicts and the other usual issues -- it was supportive and diverse (including age), and we were joined by a young family that happened to be passing through and stopped to inquire about what was happening; and we certainly had many people who were there in spirit -- and hope to have many more through our sharing about the event and the rest of the local community work.  Too, Julia and I were blessed to have some friends from our local faith and fat communities join us.  Also, the weather was excellent -- if anything, even better than shown in the photo.  

Julia and I brought the battery-operated tea light 'candles' from the Montgomery County MD Trans(gender) Day of Remembrance (#MCMDTDOR) and lined the front edge of the stage with 49 of them -- one for each victim.  This worked out well even though it was daylight even at the very end of our gathering (it's almost the longest day of the year); again, sorry I didn't get any photos, but I was verklempt etc.

We opened the evening with Jenny giving a welcome.

Michelle sang the National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner).

Gretchen Wyrick read her prose piece about what happened at Pulse in the very early morning of Sunday June 12th -- and it is fairly detailed, so please use your very best judgement around if, when and how long to read it.  
(And it was only through listening to her that I realized that part of my connection to the Orlando events is that my paternal grandparents died along with almost 500 others in the fire at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston in 1942 (which was largely the result of the club owner conspiring with the city in ways that that made a fire very likely and very lethal; click here to read my most recent post about it.)
  • “On June 12, 2016 at around 2:00 am the United States experienced the deadliest mass shooting in its history as a gunman entered the crowded gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida.”
Leslie read the names of the 49 people who were murdered that night.

Jenny read Jameson Fitzpatrick’s poem “A Poem For Pulse” – he posted in on Facebook just hours after the shooting and as a response to that news; she read a version she edited for this evening.
  • “Last night, I went to a gay bar
  • with a man I love a little.
  • After dinner, we had a drink.” 
Rob and Leslie sang along with Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day”.

Keith Pumphrey read Mark Rikerby’s 2008 poem “How We Survive.”
  • “If we are fortunate,
  • we are given a warning.
  • If not…" 
I shared some thoughts about how the events in Orlando and the responses to them can help us think about our local community and commitment to social justice.
  • “And primarily, I bring questions.  Why are we here?  Tonight is about Orlando, but it is also about much more – it has to be.”
Rob and Leslie sang Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love”, including Mary Lambert’s “She Keeps Me Warm” chorus.

Julie Lyst, Jenny’s partner, shared some words. 

Jenny gave thanks and some final thoughts.

And then, especially as it was almost the longest day of the year, we were able to spend some informal time with each other before we all parted.  (Though Julia and I couldn’t stay as long as we might have liked, as we needed to get home to our bossy dogter – we could have brought her, especially as we walk her there pretty often, and maybe we should have.) 

Thanks very much, everyone!  It was good to discover some more local LGBTQ+ and allied community members, and I look forward to further connection.  

For more about the aftermath of Pulse, from a Florida-led national perspective, visit WeAreOrlando.org.   
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