The world changed this weekend, not just for the gay community but for humanity as a whole. 50 people were murdered for simply being who they are.
Andy Cohen said it best on Twitter "Gay clubs are where LGBT people go to feel safe" This weekend in Orlando, someone took that safety away from people who had come together to just have a good time, many of whom probably don't have that sense of safety and unity in many other places. If you've ever experienced the stares or the comments (and sometimes the aggression) of homophobia then you'll know exactly what I mean, if you haven't then please read on with an open heart and mind.
As a gay man, my heart is broken, not just because people died, not just because I have friends in Orlando and have visited there but because we are living in a world where this still does happen. People were murdered simply for being gay. People with families, friends, jobs, hopes dreams and goals. People who were loved and cared for have been taken away for absolutely no reason and we can't do anything to get them back. What we can do something about, is how we react to this as a community.
A young family member of mine who recently came out messaged me last night saying they are "now even more scared to be who I am because people want to hurt us" I cried as I read that message but I will not give these people my fear, hate or tears and I will not let them steal my joy.
The easiest thing to do now is to go into fear and anger but we have to be better than this. We have to rise up and be stronger than ever, support each other and be each others allies and supporters when so many people are trying to tear us down. This is not just a gay issue, this is a human issue.
We have to honour our brothers and sisters who were killed by living happy, full and free lives and helping others to do the same. We honour them by growing brighter not by shrinking our light.
I don't mean for a second that we should be passive and simply wish people well, we need to create a social change, we need to come together closer than ever before and be there for each other- not just as the gay community but as a community of humans who want to live in a world where we all deserve to be happy and free.
Please don't go into fear and anger, darkness will only create more darkness, what the world needs now is more light. To all my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, don't be afraid, we must not give them our fear or let them steal our joy- we have to live happy, productive and strong lives because they want us to be victims and we will NOT be.
Some good has to come out of this barbaric incident and it starts with us and how we treat each other and how we live our lives.
To anyone reading this that is feeling scared or alone, you are loved, you are cared for and there are people who are here to support you. Please reach out if you need to.
Love HAS to win and it will.