A voice in my head screams out, why?? Why were these lives taken, why were they so deserving of death that a man felt it was his right to grab an assault rifle and spray bullets throughout a club designed to be a safe and United space against hatred and violence.
My heart aches, feeling hollow and gutted. This could have been me. This could have been my friends, people that I know and love. These were people who had friends and were loved. And now they are gone. How can I know that this cannot happen to me? These beautiful souls did not know this would happen to them. They went to a club, one of the few spaces that we LGBT people expect to be safe and still they are gone. The safety of those walls could not keep out the hatred and bigotry towards them, it could not protect them from a man so hellbent on destroying lives that he invaded. He invaded. He invaded a space that was designed for safety and made it unsafe.
Nothing can prepare a community for that kind of loss. I weep for my LGBT siblings, I weep for their families, and I weep for myself. My people, my community, has been violently and viciously attacked, ripped at, shot at. And in the wake of it, still we turned to each other, we reached out to console others and allowed others to console us. We do not stand alone, we stand together. As Lin-Manuel Miranda said at the Tony’s, love is love is love is love is love and cannot be killed or swept aside. Though we weep and we despair and we grieve, we do not stand alone. A community who, despite our losses, has not fallen away and hidden but has stood out and stood up and said I am here for you. Brothers and sisters, all of my LGBT siblings, I am here for you.
I am here for you, as you are here for me. And together, holding hands across the country and across the globe, we will survive and we will live the lives that our lost siblings cannot live. We will love the love that those we have lost cannot. We must reach out and spread our love to one another against a world that hates us so much, they seek to excuse this homophobic terrorist’s actions. A world that says that his religion (which he did not follow) is at fault. That guns are not the problem.
Guns are the problem. Toxic masculinity is the problem. Legal homophobia and transphobia is the problem. Do not let them forget that. Do not let them pretend that religion or mental illness have ANYTHING to do with our loss. They are trying to steal our loss and put their own labels on it. Do not let them. Do not let them take our pain and change its truth.
Together, we are strong and we are beautiful, and we can change the world. I love all of you, each and every one of you. I love you and I am here for you.