Orlando: A Personal Response

My heart hurts for Orlando. To this day I can vividly remember each and every homophobic slur hurled my way as I was growing up; I can remember being sexually assaulted by a fellow student because “they had heard I was into that,”; I can remember every moment I lived in fear of what pain the next day might bring. For the record I was heterosexual, but they thought otherwise. With that in mind, this allowed me a minuscule, but significant glimpse into what so many individuals have to suffer through for no reason other than being who they are.

What the international LGBTQI community are still subject to in 3016 is an egregious, disgusting blight on humanity and common sense – a blight regrettably highlighted clearly, and distinctly, today with the horrific news that more than fifty people have been murdered in Orlando, Florida. Fifty people on one night out in a space supposed to be reserved as safe, as accepting, as welcoming, even if no other place would offer it. This space was theirs. These lives were theirs.

That a lone gunman would enter that space and brutally tear what was theirs away from them; that he would senselessly murder these proud, beautiful, normal people is a deep pervasive affront to justice, fairness and sense, not only in Orlando but across the entire world. It is endemic of a gap in human tolerance, in human understanding. Better is not good enough, not nearly so when these travesties can still occur, and men such as Donald Trump and Tony Abbott can be given a platform of influence from which they can culture ignorance and intolerance to mirror their very own.

it’s difficult to find the words, it’s difficult to not feel lost within sorrow and anger, but today distinctly feels like it is not the time for silence. I never knew any of the people whose lives have been tragically cut short, and yet I knew them so well. They were all that I aspire to be. People who were comfortable with themselves, people who loved themselves. People who were just like me and you.

It is a travesty that one person chose to take all of that away.

I hang my head in sorrow and think of all those who lost their lives in Orlando, and I grieve for them. So, too, do I grieve for all those within the LGBTQI community who may now be living in fear, and sorrow, and heartbreak; those whose acceptance and love and safety may feel challenged today. I grieve painfully for all those who wonder if their lives matter, who question their own existence and their place in society and the world at large. To you: I love you, I love your courage, I love you for who you are and what you are, unconditionally.

We stand for you all. You are lights upon the world, shine bright, and brighter still for those we have lost.

May they rest peacefully.

Image: @louisxharrry via Twitter