It was a sunny Sunday morning, and I was getting ready for church and our observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance when I heard the news from Colorado: A gunman had opened fire at a queer nightclub, leaving five people dead (1).
Like these Club Q patrons, I have been to such clubs on many nights, these refuges where we feel like we can express ourselves more freely, where we can just be - without the luring presence of the straight and cisgender gaze. As the news about the shooting registered with me, my heart sank. I felt helplessness creep in my body, and my eyes started to fill with tears.
This response is one of the desired effects of such terror: to spread fear, to chip away at our feelings of belonging and safety. Whether it happens in a supermarket visited by predominantly by black customers (2) or in a salon operated by Asian women (3), whether it is worshippers in a synagogue (4) or, as in Colorado Springs, dancers in a nightclub - the message is clear: You do not belong here, you do not even ‘deserve’ to live.
Advent is traditionally a time when we lean into this tension: It’s a time of waiting, when we remember a God who has already become flesh in Jesus. We also long for a God who is yet to return, for a day when “God may be all in all.” (1. Cor 15:28). It is in the very name of the season: The Latin “adventus” translates as arrival, reminding us that God has already arrived in Christ, but is yet to arrive again.
 which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirited
Michael is the Queer Justice Advocate for the Southern New England Conference UCC, and pastoral resident at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Somerville, MA