I slept late last night. I fell into a black hole just refreshing my Twitter feed on updates about the shooting at Orlando, where so many members of the LGBTQ community were exercising their right to have a good time. Approximately 50 dead. Over 50 people injured, many in critical condition. I fell into the rabbit hole checking the hashtag #Orlando and #homophobia and #pride trying to find some semblance of sense and meaning. I wanted to empathise with the outrage, I wanted to understand the context since I’m not an American, and I wanted to be there, online, just processing my feelings because I had a lot.
The fact that the target was a gay club during Pride was very disturbing to me. I have taken my homosexuality for granted. I’ve had an easy life and I’ve never been discriminated upon nor have I suffered from the evils of stigma. I am always surrounded by good people where my sexual preference has never been an obstacle. I’ve never encountered it on the streets and online. I live my life openly and proud and pretty much untouched and I know that it’s difficult and challenging for hundreds of thousands of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters all over the world.
I know what it is like because I’ve read about it and heard stories about it but I’ve never had to go through it and it sickens me that my good fortune is not shared by millions around the world.
I never really understood Pride. I’m proud but I looked at Pride and I didn’t get the message. I didn’t see it as a political act. I didn’t realise that it wasn’t just about gay men prancing around and dancing around and just being gay as loud as they could — it’s about making a stand that we have every right to be here, to live safe lives and free from judgment. We deserve equal rights and it’s none of your business who we choose to sleep with as long as it is safe and consensual.
Orlando, Florida is so far away from me but for some reason, it really hit me strongly that this was just another example of how horrible this world can be. I’m not going to talk about the fact that the killer was Islamic. I don’t understand the politics of that and I don’t have enough information to make any sort of rationalisation that brings race into the discussion.
I do know that I hate guns and that a gun doesn’t do anything else but kill people. Why are we making so many guns and why aren’t we destroying all the guns in the whole world? A gun is used for hurting or killing people. You can say they are responsible gun owners, but why would you give any human being a license to carry a weapon that can hurt or kill people? If there were no guns at all, then there wouldn’t be a need to protect yourself from one. You want to bash someone’s head in? Use your hands. Get up close and personal. See how many people get caught in the crossfire.
How many people would have died if one lone man tried to kill a nightclub full of gay people with his bare hands?
It’s 2016 and we are still dealing with the idiocy and stupidity of homophobia. And I’m not saying that this is a religious killing. It’s a hate crime, that’s for sure, but I will bring in to the discussion the continuing killing of members of the LGBTQ community in Arabic states and the number of fundamental and extremist Islamic people who laud this massacre. I will bring in to the discussion all the severely conservative and radical Christian and Catholic voices that have fought for and passed legislation that makes it impossible for people in the LGBTQ community to live decent and normal lives. Lives that are equal to everybody else that these people consider normal.
All of this is sickening. When do their beliefs trump our right to live normal lives? Why are they allowed to dictate the life that I lead?
I am so angry right now. Me, who has taken my freedom for granted, feel so outraged that this is happening to the LGBTQ community, of which I am a part of whether I’m an active member of it or not.
I am a gay man and this hate crime, this massacre is an offence to my way of life.
I shouldn’t have written anything while I’m angry and I’m still feeling so confused and lost and overwhelmed.
But I’m going to dance and sing and love and live louder, faster, stronger, bigger than I ever have because I am not afraid of their hate. For the first time ever, I feel proud of who I am, of the amazing and wonderful people that I call my family and friends for their love and understanding and sensitivity, and of how the LGBTQ community has prevailed and continue to make great strides to fight for our rights to be treated as equals.
I am probably going to look at this post two days from now and end up apologising for somethings I may have said here but right now, I want to just express my frustration and anger. I want to express my sadness. I want to express my pride.
I am not afraid. I have done nothing wrong. I am not a perpetrator of hate. I know of love and understanding.
What do they know?