After all the tears fall down our faces and we have none left to bare, we paint a rainbow on our cheeks. As the colors seep into our bloodstream, our eyes brighten and fiercely stare into the future. These colors should not be mistaken for childish fun or insignificant whimsy; this rainbow on my cheek is war paint. This rainbow, with all of its colors, each surviving together in a fight for their right to be stripes, can not be taken off my skin.

We exist in a rainbow. When others will only see it after a storm, we radiate in the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. When hatred chooses to be unaffected by its magnificence, we bathe in it. The rainbow is chosen to represent the beings of LGBTQA peoples because it boldly and unapologetically shines ALL of itself to BE any of itself.

We are here with love, but let that not lessen the intensity of our potentiality. We are also here with ever present minds that pay close attention to threat, hate, and bigotry. We are here with words that, in their raw truth, pierce through mainstream media lies and sensationalist deception. We are here with each other, in greater numbers and more exalting pride than society has previously allowed.

From this point, one where we see so many lives stolen and so many friends and families heartbroken, I, for one, am angry. I am rationally and rightfully angry. No one should mistake queers’ willingness to love anyone anywhere as a blindfold to the enemy. We know the enemy; passivity.

Just because I have a rainbow on me does not mean I see any unicorns around. The story of violence towards queer people is not a fairytale and no prince is going to save us from the bad guys. We can save us. So, no, we are not going to shut up about Orlando. No, we are not going to discount the very long reputation of homophobia that has persisted in U.S. soil for centuries. No, we are not going to isolate this tragedy from political discussion and debate. No, we will not entertain any idea that this massacre was not simultaneously targeting LGBTQA people and people of color, particularly of Latino/Hispanic origin.

After attending the beautiful vigil for Orlando held in my home, Baltimore, MD, I know this year’s Pride Festival will have a different air about it. War paint on, we will be dancing through our gathering we know as a battlefield, kissing with more heat than a gun after a shot fired, and shouting our pride louder than any speak of hate.

I’ll see you there.