Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando Proves One Thing #OrlandoShooting #LGBT

This isn't the way Pride Season was supposed to start.

Like most of you, I've spent the last two days reading articles and comments about the callous massacre perpetrated by a man with an established history of violence. I'm not printing his name because this isn't about him. It's about us.

There are many ways to look at the senseless loss of life. In the beginning, I felt the same way everyone else did: horrified, heartbroken, angry. Sunday night, that changed.

I didn't think to bring my camera, but luckily others did!
I'm a speck in the crowd somewhere.

I made a trip up to Vancouver to stand with the rest of the Rainbow Community mourning the loss. Hundreds of us gathered to light candles and cry on each other. Before the night was over, I realized something. This isn't a time for depression and fear. It's a time for hope. 

Orlando marks an official milestone in our quest for equality. 

Yes, it's heartbreaking. Thousands of lives will be forever changed by the actions of a single lunatic. The Orlando community will never be the same -- but look at the response. The world is mourning with us. President Obama ordered all flags flown at half mast. Politicians and public figures have expressed heartfelt sympathy. 

We matter.

Do you realize how amazing that is? 30+ years ago the White House sounded exactly like Pat Robertson does today: callous, cold, lacking any trace of sympathy. President Regan labeled AIDS-related deaths insignificant, the extinguished lives not worth mourning, the cure a waste of medical research funds.

43 years ago, a gay club in New Orleans was burned to the ground by an arsonist, killing 32 people. The press joked about it. Family members refused to claim the bodies. The country couldn't care less. That's not the way it looks today.

We will mourn those lost in Orlando. They deserve it. We will cry with the families and friends of those murdered. They deserve it. We will ignore the haters. They deserve it. After all, people who devote their lives to hatred and ignorance lose the ability to speak any other language. Sympathy is beyond them.

One day, when the pain eases, I hope we can look back on this week as proof of how far our fight has come. Never again will an attack against LGBT people go unnoticed, unmarked, ignored. 

We matter!