Even in this small city and state, the tragedy that happened at Pulse in Orlando has spread over everyone here like a dark cloud. You can feel it when you ask how people are. They respond with the usual "fine" but then you lock eyes with them and without speaking, you both know that fine means that you are alive and well and thankful for that yet reeling from the news, confused why it still happens, helpless because you wish you could do more. Angry because it won't stop.I have friends who engulfed my whole heart whose names could be on that list. People that I would move mountains for. Friends and family who are gay and in beautiful relationships or marriages. Friends and family who like to go out dancing from time to time. Friends and family that could have been there in Orlando, working on a summer show or performing at the parks, going out for the night. Friends that are in Orlando, I awaited in suspense to see them post on social media that they were safe. For once, in these times, social media does an immense amount of good.I only know a little about what it is like to be attacked because of who I am. I have been called racist names before even though I wasn't being racist. I was just born white living in a Harlem that was being quickly gentrified. Those words hurt but they weren't directed at the fiber of my being in any way. I was just another white girl taking over. I felt unsafe at times. That is not unusual for a New Yorker to feel. People are attacked on the subway for one reason or another every day unfortunately.It does not compare to what I can only imagine the LGBTQ community is feeling, has been feeling, constantly. So many strides have been taken and yet, I am more afraid for my friends than I ever have been and I know they feel even more fear than I do. 49 people can die in a matter of minutes. 49 beautiful, young people who were out being themselves in a space that is supposed to be a welcoming sanctuary. A place of support and acceptance and fun. They were targeted in their comfort zone. We fear churches, the mall, Walmart, school, movie theaters, the street in front of the Empire State Building and now dancing at a club with our peers.I am terrified. I have always been scared when these happens. Who hasn't been? It is at a point where almost all of us living in this country are now terrified because it has hit close to home in one way or another for each of us. Closer than we ever thought. It burrowed deeper into me when the Colorado movie theater shooting happened. Not only do I have family and friends there that were seeing the movie that night, I was seeing it. In a different state but the state doesn't matter any more. It was the same for the Trainwreck shooting. I was sitting in a theater watching that movie that night. Movie theaters were my sanctuary. This happened to a community that I love. A community that is incredibly welcoming to everyone and anyone who needs a helping hand and support system. A community that is strong, unwavering, and powerful. A community that may be shaken but will never fall. A community I will help fight for until my last breath because love is love and everyone deserves equality.I feel helpless. I've signed the petitions. I've written to my representatives. I've donated when I could to those in need after these events. I've attended vigils. I watch the news, I read the articles, I learn as much as I can about how this happened, why it happened, what is being done. I don't have an answer. If I post what I think is an answer publicly, I'll be attacked in one way or another because guns are very precious to some. I don't care about your guns and why you think you need them. I don't want your guns. I want something to change. I don't need to share my opinion on that with the world. Just with the people in charge of making it happen and I need them to listen.I think of the girl like me who maybe lost her best friend in the Pulse nightclub. Maybe she had just been texting him or her. Maybe they had plans on Sunday for brunch. Maybe he had just taken her shift at Universal Studios that Friday so she could go out. Maybe she was supposed to go with that night. I think of that girl and all the others who lost someone to unexplainable circumstances. I imagine losing my best friend in that manner. I can feel the hole it would leave inside me and it makes me feel ill. I don't know what I would do. I can no longer think "That could never happen to me".It should not be commonplace to be shot on a Saturday night when out dancing. Or watching a movie. Or going to school. What kind of world is this where it is? What kind of country allows this to keep happening? What kind of person is still mad that someone will take away their precious gun when it may be their child who is riddled with bullets while performing their dance recital in a community center? God forbid but at this point, God is probably also at a loss.
The most glaring fact I've seen recently: Australia created stricter gun laws in 1996.
Their last mass shooting was in 1996.
Hate exists in many forms. This was because of hate. It was because of confusion and ignorance. It was because of pain. If the reports are true that this man was exploring his own sexuality and discovering he was gay, then I feel sad. I have seen my own friends struggle with coming out. I've seen them also find solace in that community. A community that opens up and lets you in and gives you a hug of warmth and understanding when you feel like you are alone. I can only imagine his anger, confusion, his own fear. I wish that he had known if he sought guidance and support, he would have found it within the own people he opened fire on.I do not know why someone would turn to violence like this instead of seeking help. I'm not a violent person; I don't even like killing bugs. I've never been through anything like that so I am not going to begin to pretend I know its full impact on a soul. However, that kind of hate runs deep and I can only compare it to Sauron and Voldemort and President Snow and Ramsey Bolton. The characters in books and movies that are so evil they don't seem real. But it is. It's very real. And like all those stories, only love will stop it. Love and perseverance for change and understanding. Help and education that is available. Laws that takes guns like the AR-15 out of hands that are a danger to themselves and others and who aren't even allowed to fly on a plane. Making support for gay teens and adults more available in every community.Love wins. Every. Single. Time. We still have to fight to make change happen. This isn't the end. I can feel the change coming. We've all had enough. We had enough after Sandy Hook. We had enough after every other attack on the LBGTQ community. The revolution is rising. Get on board.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t88X1pYQu-I