Orlando

I am openly trembling with rage. I am openly scared. This is refreshing. Normally, I swallow these feelings. But for the first time in an age, something overtly homophobic has happened. 
A homophobe opened fire on a group of LGBT* people and allies in a gay club in Orlando, Florida, USA. A safe space where people from all walks of life can talk, dance, hold and love whomsoever they choose. 

‘This was an attack on our Western Freedoms’ is something that keeps being said. Yes, it was. Everyone who enjoys Western Freedoms, like going to see live music and drinking beer at the Bataclan, or enjoying competitive sport with women and children sharing the stadium at the Stade de France, should feel violated when these freedoms are attacked.

But this was a particularly acute attack on the LGBT* community. It was a gay club. Not a club where gays sometimes hang out. Not a gay friendly club. A gay club.

The people in Pulse were killed because they were, or were suspected of being, or were associating with people who were queer; people who live their lives, at least within the walls of that club, as other, gay, queer, non-cis, pan, whatever the hell they decide. And within those walls, it is not just accepted, but celebrated.

The media’s response has made me even more upset and angry. For the Sky News team to try to sanitise the story as ‘an attack on Western Freedoms’, for the Daily Mail to push the story to any page but the front, for rolling news to talk for extended periods about the Queen’s 90th Birthday, for the Brexit mob and Trump to sidestep the uncomfortable truths about this event and still dare to use it for political gain, when they should all be fucking mourning this tragic, devastating act, the worst terror attack on US soil since 9/11 is just baffling.
It’s made me realise some things. 

Of course I feel this attack more than others because it is my community. This is a tribal, human thing. We feel the attacks on our family far harder than we feel the attacks on our distant, disconnected human family on the far side of the world. It’s not shameful, it’s not callous, it’s realistic. We, as humans, are innately innumerate; we cannot possibly empathise with all 7 billion humans on the face of the Earth without good cause. 

But the reason people from the LGBT* community feel so strongly that this attack should be called a homophobic hate crime before it is called ‘an attack on our Western Freedoms’, is because ours is a community which is bonded, has been shaped, and is sculpted every single fucking day by the hate and anger directed towards us.

We have marriage equality in much of the Western World, so surely homophobia is dead, dying, on its way out?

No. The events which unfolded in Pulse nightclub in Orlando were openly homophobic and unimaginably horrific. But every single day, every single fucking day, members of the LGBT* community are battered by weapons, by fists, by words, by looks, by the assembled forces of the heteronormative mainstream media telling us, sometimes very, very subtly, that we do not fit the mould, telling us we are only acceptable if we pass for the lowest common denominator.

I am a middle class white guy. So the sort of assault I get is occasional physical violence, more frequent name calling, and regular disapproving looks. I am scared, not only to kiss my boyfriend in public, I am scared to hold his hand, to walk too close to him, to look too romantically at him. And that makes me fucking angry. 

My boyfriend and I have had ups and downs in our relationship. There has been stuff we have had to sort out between us for sure. But neither of us, until today, registered that our relationship trembles, bows and almost breaks unde a huge pile of subverted prejudice. I’m allowed to marry him, but I’m not really allowed to kiss him in public places. I’m allowed to adopt with him, but I’m fucking terrified of people seeing me looking lovingly at him. Try taking the affection out of your relationships, try carrying out all of your affection inside your small bedroom and tell me how quickly your relationship starts to struggle.

So when someone (crazy maybe, extreme Islamist maybe, unhinged maybe, angry maybe, marginalised himself maybe, but homophobic DEFINITELY) goes to one of your safe places, one of the safe places of your community, your loving, vibrant, multicoloured, multi-faith, eccentric community, when someone goes there, to that room where the walls are damp, the floors are sticky and the drinks are warm, but it doesn’t fucking matter because it’s safe, because whatever you are and whatever you have it’s accepted, it’s tolerated, it’s celebrated, it’s the best thing about you, when someone goes there and fires hundreds of bullets into your already scarred and lonely and cowering and damaged brothers, sisters, siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, queens, kings, role models, inspirations, strangers, lovers and friends… when someone does that to them, to your people in your place, you will have every right to be angry, upset and scared. I would expect you to be raging.
So, my challenge to you and to myself: instead of waiting for the next open act of homophobia to come along and claim more of our beautiful family, call out the secret acts of homophobia. Call out the names, the side glances, the sneers. Orlando is the lethal, jagged tip of the iceberg, the rest happens every day and it makes our family members consider, attempt and commit suicide at a far higher rate than our straight brothers and sisters. Call out the banter, speak out for other marginalised groups facing bigotry, hold hands, go to the clubs, cafes and parties, fill up the safe spaces. Fill the safe spaces until they overflow, until the walls crumble down and the safe spaces grow and grow. And do not stop loving, defending, taking the hits and helping each other getting right back up again until the safe spaces meet, until there is one safe space, for everyone, of every colour, gender, sexuality, religion. 
Do not stop until everyone can be anyone everywhere.

The Book of Humanity, by blillies

Chapter One: Tribes

The age of Man commences.
Early man sparsely populates the Earth.
Man gets organised and works out that being in a Tribe is a very wise choice; Man can catch bigger and tastier animals in a Tribe.
Later man decides to stick in Tribes made up of other monogamous breeding pairs, cultivating trust, promoting communication, leading to industrial and cultural innovation.
Organisation leads to increases in population.
Ancestral and genealogical tribes become bigger and bigger until the Large Scale Tribes are formed; Religion, Nation and Class.
These Tribes are built like the original Pyramidal Human Tribes with the majority of the Tribe at the base, a smaller group of the Tribe above these and a lone Chief at the point. These Tribes are structured to cope with large numbers of people, providing answers, identity and order in a rapidly advancing world.
The Large Scale Tribes are successful for a very long time, but they remain beyond their intended lifespan. The global Industrialisation of Nations causes rapid population growth and enormous demand for resources. Outmoded, but deeply woven into the fabric of Man, the Large Scale Tribes, Religion, Nation and Class, are used to justify global wars, catastrophic misdistributions of resource and gross acts of environmental and humanitarian negligence.

This time of global trauma is exacerbated by two Human Flaws:

Greed – natural, primal, evolutionary, but, utilised by a Chief or Superior Tribe Member in an outmoded Large Scale Tribe, greatly damaging.
Innate Innumeracy – though advanced, Man’s conscience simply cannot comprehend the meaning of millions and billions, and fractions of millions and billions. In of itself not a problem, but in relation to statements like ‘Tribal Death Toll In Foreign Land 200 000’ and ‘Charismatic Local Tribe Member Killed’, Tribes may only focus on their Local Tribe Member, rather than the incomprehensible number of Deceased Tribe Members on the far side of the Earth, resulting in a skewed perspective and an apathetic attitude towards the actions of the Tribal Chiefs. This is a natural, not an evil Human facet. What is evil is the exploitation of this natural Blind Eye by the Chiefs.

The combination of 1 and 2 within archaic Tribe Structures attempting to support a swollen population creates a volatile and highly reactive atmosphere. Into which two catalysts are introduced: HyperCapitalism and Internet.

Chapter Two: Nomads

With HyperCapitalism comes the introduction of many new Tribes – the Tribe who owns that object, the Tribe who lives in that area, the Tribe who wears that item. HyperCapitalism seems to be a new Large Scale Tribe, helpfully controlling and ordering Humanity.

It is soon revealed, however, to be a Frankenstein’s Monster built from the appendages of Religion (Idolatry and Worship), Nation (Ownership and Inheritance) and Class (Division and Hierarchy). It is not a new Large Scale Tribe at all. HyperCapitalism is a rebrand of the Old School. And its Tribal Chiefs are the same Chiefs from before. How did they do that?

Internet (given to Humanity for no cost at all), shakes the foundations of the Large Scale Tribes even more by improving communications, travel and access to knowledge.

Religious dogma is challenged by those who are enlightened.
National borders and identities are tested and diluted by mass migration.
Class is eroded by the better understanding of inequality and the eventual better distribution of wealth and resource.

Is this the mythical Human Tribe forming?
Sadly, No. The Human Tribe is found, like all the Large Scale Tribes, to be unrealistic and unsustainable (Remember human flaws 1 and 2? They still apply.)
But the reaction has still taken place, the catalysts have still worked. And the reaction is an irreversible one.
The actual physical matter of a Tribe is visualised thus:

Humans + Communication + Information = Tribe

With Humans able to travel the Earth easily and digitally, Communications speedy and efficient, and Information freely and quickly available, Tribes are able to form instantly and remotely. A Tribe can be formed without any of its members meeting (A Petition, A Kickstarter).
Rather than forming one Large Scale Tribe, hundreds of thousands of Micro Tribes are created and disbanded quicker and quicker, advancing one small cause at a time, bettering one small group each day.
Some Tribes endure, but most either fall apart quickly (having succeeded or failed) or become absorbed into the collective Ideals of every other Micro Tribe.
Man is an algal bloom of Physical, Idealogical and Cultural Nomads, free of old Tribal structures, empowered with the ease of Global movement, the flow of information, and the attrition of lies.

(The only Large Scale Tribes that endure are Apple Computers and Coca Cola.)

Humanity gets its final push. The inevitable change in the Climate causes 100% of the human population to evacuate the exposed parts of the planet, and make for the major cities, ending the Nomadic Chapter of Humanity.

Religion dies.
Nations dissolve.
Class is forgotten.
Chapter Three: Siphonophore

The Retiring is not sudden, but it is difficult. Cities have to evolve in unprecedented ways. The lessons learnt from the Ancient Cities of Singapore and Las Vegas are applied to all modern cities to support life in extreme and variable conditions. Apple Computers (by now a partnership in which every employee has a stake) builds the systems, Coca Cola (by now the internationally publicly owned Global Food Company) ensures even and fair food and water distribution among the island-like cities.

Man is still innately innumerate, but every Human knows that there are twelve Super Cities on Earth and that we were forced to retire here partly because of the mistakes of our forbears. The Cities are separate organisms which combine to make a larger organism. A Siphonophore.

We are still as fickle as ever, we still change Tribes quickly and frequently. Rather than weakening the Tribes, this broadens the experience and the understanding of Humans the World over.
This is called Education.
Humans are at their highest ever rate of literacy and numeracy.
Global population plateaus.
Stability and equality is reached for every human.
For now…

Epilogue

Whether the Siphonophore model of Humanity happens or is successful, only time will tell. We are, essentially, an innocent and vulnerable flock, darting around this planet, this star system, this galaxy. If something spooks our leaders, they will turn another way and we will charge, like lemmings, wherever we are led. We cannot possibly know what lies ahead – we can predict and wonder, but we cannot know. And the most dangerous Tribe of all is the Tribe who claims to know. They cannot know. They are claiming to know so that they can recruit you. Beware.

The Epilogue of the Book of Humanity will be about Chapter Three Hundred Thousand for the Book of Earth. When Man ceases to populate the Earth the Sun will burn on for millennia, the Universe will grow for billions of years, our stains cleansed, our chapters lost, our entire library – achievements great and small, struggles, failures, awards, speeches, memorials, figureheads, heroes, Chiefs and Tribes – will be gone, back to the stardust from whence we came.