Pride is a beautiful thing. To be proud of something is to believe that it is right and has power.
After the recent shooting at Pulse in Orlando, I was reminded of the pride I have for my community. The LGBT+ community is an amazing place that can be so accepting to anyone who needs it. We are also ferocious in protecting other members of our community. Unfortunately we can’t always protect everyone from everything as the world found out this weekend.
At first I didn’t realise it was an LGBT+ club so I thought ‘Oh, another shooting in America. Maybe this one will convince them to change their gun laws.’ At this point, the official death toll was 20. Then the number started to rise and I found out it was an LGBT+ club. All of my thoughts about this changed: it was no longer ‘just another shooting’, instead, it was 49 of MY people dead because some guy got ‘angry’.
The media has painted this as a terrorist attack, despite the fact that they haven’t found any ties between the shooter and ISIS. In truth, this was a hate crime. If he had wanted to scare people, he could have attacked an office building or a supermarket. But he wanted to hurt the LGBT+ community, and what better place than one of our ‘safe’ spaces?
The effect of this tragedy on the community is so hard to predict. It’s scary so people will want to hide. It’s also an affront to our strength so people will want to scream it from the rooftops that we will not be afraid and we will always stand up for our rights. Or at least, that what I want to do. I want to hide and protect myself but at the same time I want to tell everyone who will listen that these were my people and I will not let this stand.
We are a proud community, which is why we have to power to create change. There still a huge fight to be fought and now we must do it without 49 of our soldiers.
We have the spotlight now. Don’t let the media try to shine it on terrorists when it isn’t their’s to have. Stand up and show them how proud we are. We are people too. We are your brother, your daughter, your cousin, your friend. We are grieving. We want change.