Queer Voices on Orlando: 50 Radical Acts of Love

In the early hours of Sunday, June 12, word began to spread of the latest mass shooting: a lone gunman had entered a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and killed 50 people, with another 53 injured. Over the next few days, as the national conversation moved on to the implications of this attack for terrorism, gun control, and the American election, queer communities around the world remained shaken by this horrifying act of hate.

Electric City Magazine reached out to a number of local queer writers and activists to hear their perspective on the issue. Today, we present the first in our Queer Voices on Orlando series: a poem by local spoken word artist, playwright, and musician Cathy Petch, originally published to social media the day of the attacks.


50 Radical Acts of Love

I want to write the poem
that will take 50 bodies
fallen on a Florida
gay dance bar floor
and turn them into something
other than
bullets to be put into
more guns

I avoid articles
where queer deaths are used
to fire at Islam
that would have us forget
our brothers and sisters and others
are Islamic
are every colour
and belief
and body

I want to hear the names
the stories
of those who found their way
to that club
who shook every bit of beautiful girth
who knew themselves to be radical acts
who wore their most flashy neon green
crop top
or tie
or inch higher heels
who tried on a bra for the first time
or swaggered into b-boy dance off
armed with only a grin and a binder

there is a war on love
the kind of love that
helps you glue an eyelash into place
that notices the shave cut
that likes your 1000th selfie
that calls you by the new name
you hold in your open carry heart

is any queer surprised when
they will only call you 50
will only call you mass murder
and terrorist act
your dance ready limbs
will disappear into the mouths
of politicians who would have never
stopped the sneer
at the outfit
you wore that night

They will turn your bodies bullet
they will have you locked and loaded
they will have you drone
they will burn countries down
before they ever take notice
of the ways they help murder you

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Cathy Petch

Cathy Petch


Cathy Petch is a spoken word artist, playwright and musician. They have been widely published and recently performed their full length show "Mel Malarkey Gets The Bum's Rush" at The Theatre On King. They run "Hot Damn It's A Queer Slam".