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Honoring Orlando: #KAAN2016 Conference

This message was shared this afternoon at the kickoff of the #KAAN2016 Conference by Advisory Council member Mark Hagland and presenter Erica Gehringer. Discussing the intersection of communities and the ways in which we can work together to support and make a difference will likely be covered in many of our sessions and keynotes (see our schedule here).

At a time of deep sadness and loss for America, it is important for us to recognize, name, and honor the losses borne by one of our component communities—in this case, the LGBTQIAA community in the United States.

The massacre of innocents that took place at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida was one that specifically targeted gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and Latinx and queer people of color. It is crimes against humanity like this attack that remind us that phrases like “Love is Love!” and “Love Wins!” do not always ring true for all of us, because hate and prejudice are still very much alive in this country. Amid all of the current anti-LGBTQ murders, laws, and beliefs, the Orlando tragedy is a magnified manifestation of the rampant homophobia (as well as islamophobia) found throughout the United States.

We as the transracial adoption community need to come together and understand that we all share multiple and intersecting identities, ones that deeply affect how we are treated and treat others. Yes, we are all human. And at the same time, we cannot erase people’s identities in the process of calling each other “human.” We need to acknowledge, affirm, love, and respect our individual identities as well as our collective societal and human identity, and to work together to resist and fight all forms of hatred and oppression.

Let us come together in solidarity with the victims of the Orlando massacre and with the LGBTQIAA community in the United States and worldwide, through a moment of silence and reflection, beginning now. And let us all commit to doing what we can to end hatred and oppression towards any and all of us, for who and what we are. Thank you.

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