I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.
Wrapping My Head Around It Hurts
The shooting in Orlando stunned the nation and left me staggered, wondering just how I was going to catch my breath. I'm a Canadian living 1,331.6 miles north (approximately) of Orlando, and I don't know anyone harmed or killed in the massacre.
But. That's a weighty word, isn't it?
But I identify as bisexual, therefore I am definitely affected. I am somehow a part of the community that was distinctly affected by this horrific event. I teach kids that are LGBT and they have loads of questions. Not only that, I'm a parent of two girls who are becoming increasingly aware that the world they are growing up in is distinctly unsafe in so many troubling ways.
I can't legitimately point my finger at anything surrounding the Orlando shootings as being directly responsible for the terrible deaths of 49 individuals - individuals who loved, were loved, and are no longer with the loved ones who cherished them greatly.
I've never seen such a direct, callous example of hatred in action in recent years. It's too easy to say ISIS, or some politician (sorry, Trump - you are WAY off base), or even the gun lobby was responsible for what happened in Orlando. We are a world, though, who always looks for answers even when we don't always like them. In this case, we may not like to admit it, but we are part of a world that hates too frequently and too deeply.
Gone are the days of healthy discourse where we felt free to disagree with someone over a cup of coffee or a beer. Those were fun. We'd be able to kick back, knock some ideas back and forth about various ideas or thoughts that maybe didn't quite agree with each other all the time, but at the end of the day, we could finish our beverages and continue talking.
Now, though, it seems that everyone's under fire. Don't like the mark you got on a test? Get your parents to yell at the administrator for the school to get the teacher to change the mark. Don't like someone's religion? Protest outside their church. Don't like who someone loves?
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That last question seems to become particularly dangerous in the 21st century. What do many people do when it comes to seeing people together - for instance, a same sex couple? While it would be very easy to say that things are great, and everyone can love who they want to love without judgment or fear of reprisal, that isn't the case. If it was, gay and lesbian couples could freely show their love to one another, regardless of where they are.
The problem is, these couples aren't free. There's still couples who can't stop the looking over a shoulder, ensuring they are somewhere where they are "safe" to show affection. I've seen several reports that label a gay bar as the one place gay and lesbian couples could go and not be self-conscious.
It's too easy to look at anything outside of our binary genders as unacceptable; the binary is so deeply entrenched in who we are as a global society that it's all too easy to forget that there are those out there who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or anything else along the LGBTQ spectrum.
That's where hatred begins. We saw it in 1940s Europe with the Jews in the concentration camps and in the interment camps with those of Asian descent. We saw it with those individuals who are African American in the 1950s and 1960s. Now, members of the LGBT community are in the crosshairs, and that's terrible.
Why do people want to hate so freely? Is everyone so flawless that we need to pick someone or some group apart simply based on who they happen to love and want to grow old with? Do we need to crucify someone because they fit outside the gender binary and therefore do not work inside a nice, neat little package?
Here's a news flash, friends: we are all human, and with an average 80 or so years we get to spend on the planet (hopefully, at least), we deserve to spend it with someone who embraces us in all our weirdness, glory, beauty and sadness. Humans do not come in a one size fits all package - some days you'll be lucky if you can find someone who you trust, respect, and help bring out the best in you.
Hatred is what ultimately killed those who live in Orlando. It's a terrible truth, and in the case of the gunman, it seems as though he had more than his fair share of hatred within himself. How do we teach the generation coming up, though, how to respect each other and treat each other well?
Let's work on understanding each other rather than trying to tear each other apart. Let's forget about the hatred, and the malice, and realize that this is called the human race - there's none of us getting out of here alive, so there best be an attempt at understanding each other before it's too late.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.