Up until this past Friday we were a nation divided; fighting over the most asinine subjects of all – who can use which public restroom. While we’ve been seeing an ever-increasing general public awareness and acceptance we became not just a nation, but a world united this weekend. In an attempt to create further divide, a single man drew the world together as tragedy unfolded. He is not a hero – he is evil incarnate and it should never have taken the blood of over 100 innocent people to pull us together.
“You don’t have to march in a parade to accept people for who they are regardless of your own personal beliefs.”
The month of June is the International LGBT Pride month, which is celebrated across the world with parades and parties. Just last week, my feed was flooded with LGBT news sites reporting on Pride events throughout the world and several of them included posts about why you don’t really have to go to Pride or if you’ve done it once, you don’t have to go every year. First, it is true – you don’t HAVE to go to Pride events to celebrate yourself and others. You don’t have to march in a parade to accept people for who they are regardless of your own personal beliefs. But do NOT take for granted our Pride Parades – do NOT lose sight of the blood that has been shed throughout the years to fight for the right to march down city streets. This year, however, this year we need to be out there. We need to show the haters that we will not be beaten down any longer and we will not live in fear.
We are currently in a society where politicians feel it’s absolutely acceptable to encourage hatred and to encourage violence against those who are deemed “unworthy” of being considered humans in their tainted eyes. We are a society that has taken a horrendous tragedy and IMMEDIATELY created a fire-storm of demanding gun control vs. a constitutional right to bear arms. Or changing this from a clear hate-crime motivated by homophobia into headlines that talk only about terrorism, Muslims and the Islamic State. Whatever the headline, whatever the means of execution, whatever political spin someone wants to put on this, the beginning and end of it is simple:
- A person filled with homophobic hatred acted upon that hatred in a place that was our sanctuary during a time of celebration.
Do not take the fact that he was homophobic and that the attack was on the LGBT community away from this. Do not let whatever political platform you may stand on detract from the fact that homophobic hate has now created the worst mass shooting massacre in history. The LGBT community was a clear and specifically picked target.
We, however, as the LGBT community need to stand tall. We need to fight for our rights. We need to show up to our Pride Events. We need to spread the love and teach tolerance and acceptance. We need to come together always and not just when tragedy strikes.