Those who sacrificed their lives to be who they are — the vast majority trans women of color and gender-nonconforming femmes — were not passive victims to be remembered and mourned. They were fighters and rebels who challenged the norms of our society, their communities and often their families.
In the days after the Pulse massacre, performers in Orlando’s LGBT club scene were recovering from trauma and mourning their friends. But because people have flocked to Orlando’s other gay bars, and because the rent needs to get paid, LGBT nightlife staffers have had to work through their pain in public — not to mention the emotional labor involved in being the face of a national tragedy. Here’s how they’re coping: in stolen, private moments among the queer families that love them.