I have waited for a few days to say anything about the evens that happened in Orlando. I am not sure if it is because I have been in shock or because I was unsure how to articulate my feelings appropriately. I have been up for a few hours now and the house is quiet, which leads my mind to wander and contemplate. I decided to finally say something. I know that the world itself and everyone I know has had something to say, I guess it doesn’t hurt for me to give my opinion.

The first thing that I want to say is how sorry I am for those that were involved; patrons, family, friends, community. No one should have to go through something so tragic. Something like this that is so meaningless, so pointless, so wrong.

I remember the first time that I went to a Club that was just for “family”. It was liberating. It is a place where you can go and be yourself. It is a second home. There is no one there to judge you, no one to make comments or look at you sideways when you hold your wife/partner/lover/friends hand. No one to make you feel inferior or unsafe. I have personally never been to Pulse, but I am sure that it is the type of place where as soon as you walked in, you felt accepted. There was no one in that building that was there to do you harm, judge you, mistreat you, or make you feel bad for being yourself. That type of place is hard to come by for someone that is LGBTQ. Those places don’t usually exist outside of our homes. So for someone to feel like it is okay for them to pick up a gun and walk in to our “home” and start shooting all because they don’t like what is going on there….that is not something that should be tolerated.

How would you feel if someone walked in to your home, where you feel the most comfortable and safe, and decided to shoot it up? It would devastate you, it would take away that sense of comfort and safety that everyone should feel when they are home. That is how these people felt at Pulse, they felt safe there. Safe to be themselves. Safe to have fun with no inhibitions. Safe to spend time with loved ones and friends. Safe to let go and be happy, down in the gut truly happy.

That was taken from them. That was taken from all of us.

All over the country people have been celebrating Pride over the last week or so. The whole LGBTQ community has been gathering in some place or another with people just like us. People who know our struggles, people who know what it is like to get the stares, the condemnation, the opinions. For just a few days a year, we are able to all gather as one and share the familiar. The rest of the year we are spent trying to be hyper-vigilant with where we are, who is around, what could happen. We aren’t allowed to be overly gay because we don’t want to offend or draw attention, because that is how bad things happen to people in our community. If you are overly in love in public, if you are overly gay in public, if you are overly opinionated in public; a target is then placed on your back. People then feel like they can make statements, opinions, comments, etc. all about my relationships and my identity. That alone isn’t fair. But then for this to happen…… Places like Pulse are the places that we feel most comfortable year round. On a regular Tuesday or Friday, when the whole world isn’t watching our community in “solidarity”. Just an every day place that we can go and be who we are. Who are true selves are.

It has been said that this is the worst shooting in American History. Notice that in this situation it wasn’t just the worst shooting in the LGBTQ community, it is in American History. Why is it now that we are considered to be equal to everyone else. Why is it now when it is so tragic and horrific are we allowed to be the same as everyone else. I have a hard time with that. I have a hard time with the fact that in this instance we are just like everyone else, but the rest of the year, the rest of the time we are secondary citizens. Why are we not allowed to be just like everyone else all of the time. Why can’t we all be allowed to be who we want, whenever, wherever….When I say allowed, I don’t mean that someone is going to tell me I can’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that I still to this day feel uncomfortable at times touching, holding hands, kissing, hugging, lovin on my wife in public. We have been together almost ten years. We have been married for three (in Sept). And I still feel uncomfortable to hold hands with her in public for fear of repercussions. I watch the straight community all but fornicate in front of me in public and I have to take it, I have to see it and not say anything, I have to just deal with it because that is the socially acceptable normal and that is allowed. How is that fair?!

The young boy that shot up that nightclub felt that it was unacceptable to have to men kissing in front of him. He thought out a plan, followed his plan, and ended the lives of so many that had nothing to do with him. What if that were to happen to me. What if I held my wife’s hand at dinner and leaned over and kissed her (like I see so many straight people do), what if someone decided that it was unacceptable and started shooting at me. Do I understand that for the most part that it is unlikely. Yes. Do I understand that more than likely it wouldn’t happen. Yes. But I am a mother, wife, daughter and friend, I don’t have the luxury of just thinking it won’t happen to me. I have to think, it could happen to me….

We haven’t spoken of this tragedy with our children, I am having a hard time with this. Mainly because I feel like they should know, that they should know that there is an evil in this world that is out to hurt people for no reason. That there are people out there that are so messed up in their own bigotry and hatred that they would kill innocent people for no reason. On the other hand, why ruin their innocence. My children don’t see anything wrong with their lives. They have two moms that love them and take care of them and that is all that matters. The problem is that they are getting older. The world is getting more angry and filled with hate. I don’t want them to one day realize that we are a hated community and be scared or worried. They don’t understand that one boy has ruined the lives of so many all because of the fact that he saw two men kissing. My children wouldn’t understand that. They are small and so innocent. They don’t know the hatred that my wife and I face. For that I am grateful. I am grateful that we have been able to keep that from them.

I wish that there was some way to give comfort to those that have suffered losses and sadness in this most difficult time. I know that as a family we will continue to pray. I know that it doesn’t seem much, but that is all we can do. I have so much sadness and anger. I feel as though my “home” was vandalized and my “family” was hurt and killed. That is a hard thing for me to come to grips with. There has to be something that can be done. There has to be something that people get out of this. Do Radical Christians finally see what is going on and how their opinions are causing so much hatred and death? Will they finally realize that fighting against our community is doing nothing but ruining lives? Will the world finally wake up and realize that we bleed too, we are no different than them?

I am afraid that this is just the beginning of what is to come for the world….