For the most part, I am a strong person. Not in a physical sense, but in an emotional sense. In the most difficult situations, I push past heartbreak and pain in order to move forward.
Everyday, for the past couple of weeks, I wanted to write about the Orlando shooting that took place on June 12, 2016, but I kept putting it off. It was and still is a deadly and violent incident that leaves me lost for words every time it becomes the topic of conversation. For a while, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I was rendered speechless and unable to process my thoughts about the topic, but now I think I know why.
I’m scared. For the first time in my life, as a lesbian and a member of the queer community, I actually feel afraid. I don’t mean to sound arrogant or conceited, because I know how difficult it can be, but throughout my entire life and up until this point, I have never once felt discriminated against, or hated for who I am as a person.
For as long as I can remember, LGBTQ+ rights have been progressing in the right direction; countries are legalizing same-sex marriage, people in powerful positions are coming out, media representation of the queer community is becoming normalized and the list goes on. As this was happening, I became comfortable, complacent even, almost to the point of truly thinking that positive change was making a difference; that I was safe.
Despite all of this though, when the Orlando shooting happened, it felt like we as a society took a giant step backwards.
This shooting made me realise that I’ve become too complacent about the queer community and LGBTQ+ rights. Those rights are not going to happen overnight, and they definitely won’t happen if I sit back and wait for others to fight for those rights for me. I can’t become comfortable. I don’t want to be comfortable.
The Orlando shooting was in my opinion, a hate crime. As a member of the queer community, I have a responsibility to fight for the safety of all members of that community, and in memory of those who lost their life that night.