At a time when the rights of the LGBTQ community are gaining some recognition, we have been reminded of the prejudice against us with a violent act that should never have happened.
The news of what happened at Pulse nightclub in Orlando has left us devastated and hurting. We ache for the loss of so many of our community in one night. We rightfully cry out against this atrocity. We talk once again of gun reform and beat our chests in anguish. And all of this is a just reaction to what has happened.
What worries me about our anger most is the reported identity of the shooter. Omar Mateen may have been of Afghan descent and Muslim but, and I say this with a taste for justice in my heart, that does not mean that the Afghan community or the Muslim community in the Western world should be targeted as a scapegoat.
These radical acts happen when those with a penchant for preying on the vulnerable turn them into weapons. These acts of terrorism aren’t just carried out by Radical Islamists but by Fundamentalists from various religions. Please note I said Islamists and not Muslims. Most Muslims abhor the path of those who see these acts as ones of holy Jihad. Just as true Christians abhor the KKK and the WBC.
If we can learn anything from this horrific tragedy, it should be that we need to reach out to each other. Religious and Queer alike. We need to sew seeds that will build a foundation of respect and understanding. We need to see each other as human first. Only then will these attrocities end.
Am I aching for the loss of life within the LGBTQ community? Of course. My Queer heart is breaking. Will I let this turn me into an ally of those who spout things such as “We should ban all Muslims from entering?” No. I will not take the side of people like Donald Trump. Division doesn’t solve problems. It only creates them.
I stand by the victims of Orlando. I stand by their families. I stand by a community in grief. And I stand by those who will have to once again defend themselves in the aftermath of an event that they had no part in.