Like many of you, my heart is heavy, and my sadness is deep. The horror and hate that showed up in Orlando is immeasurable. But the grief and anguish of the family, friends and loved ones of the young LGBT people who were murdered is only the beginning of a long journey of anguish, shock and disbelief. They will never be the same. There will always be the questions unanswered. There will always be the “what ifs” “the whys,” and “how is it possible.?” There will always be the memories, the unfinished conversations, and the dreams and hopes that will never be realized.
It’s almost a luxury the rest of us have to analyze why, to read about the killer, to take the time to wonder about the motive, to debate whether it was religion, homophobia or easy access to guns that were to blame.
But for the mothers, the fathers, the spouses, partners and other family members, who have to get up every day to that emptiness, to the loss and the agony, they will have to get through each day feeling that their heart has been ripped out of their bodies.
For the rest of us, we need to not let over- analysis take over and distance us from the pain of the families and loved ones. At the same time, we to not let politicians who never supported LGBT rights, and other so-called humanitarians control the story and trivialize the fact that it was LGBT people, friends and family who died. They weren’t murdered because they were just people in the US, they represented a particular group that continues to be the targets of hateful ideologies in the US and the world- LGBT people, and most of them were Hispanic, and young.
And then there is the so-called Christian pastor who went on a rant in his church about the world being safer and praising this murderer and the unAmerican marines who posted hate messages and threats against other LGBT people. And again the families, friends and loved ones have to endure yet more pain from this hate.
This evil killer was mentally unstable, was attracted to men and engaged on gay dating sites, hated himself, became religious and sought to blame LGBT people for his attraction to men. It reminds me of those Christian preachers who screamed about “homosexuality,” evils and the bible and were caught literally with “pants down” either paying for gay prostitutes or molesting young boys. This guy wanted to show his loyalty to ISIS and other extremists by committing mass murder.
What can we do? We have to remember love, to live our life with love, to stand up against bigotry of every kind for love. If you want to know what you can do, you can send material support to the families in Orlando, speak-out against the narratives being advanced by homophobic “nice” politicians who want to be seen as good and kind but how speak against us, and vote to support discrimination. Learn what homophobia and transphobia are in practice and speak out when you see or hear it. And if you believe that we are all part of humanity, bigger than just ourselves, then see yourself as “Part LGBT” so when you hear or see homophobia or transphobia anywhere even from friends and family, you take it personally and feel as though it is an attack against part of you.
And always remember to love, so we can transform and isolate the hate.