So Bright and Gay

So Bright and Gay

Adrienne BoettingerMonday,13 June 2016

Like many of you, I’ve been reading a lot about the violent mass killing in Orlando. I guess I’ve been trying to make sense of it but that is as pointless as trying to stop the tide; you can’t make sense of something senseless. Immediately this tragedy has been taken by some as a chance to rail against what they term “radical Islamic terrorism” (or even congratulate himself for tweeting the words before anyone else did) and others as a chance to call for gun reform. Although I’ll probably get around to that latter point in the next few weeks, I want to focus on the particularly hateful nature of this crime against the LGBT community in general and the 50 slain and 53 injured human beings in Orlando.

How can you hate someone because of who they are and who they love? And how can you hate them so much so that you take their lives? I just don’t understand it. It literally boggles my mind. I didn’t understand it when my countrymen tried to legislate who could get married and who couldn’t — whose love was right and whose was wrong. I didn’t understand it when my elected officials vocally supported civil servants who ignored the law in a last-gasp attempt to continue to judge whose love is right and whose is wrong. I don’t understand it when my countrymen stir up false stories of attacks in bathrooms to make life even more difficult for transgender persons. And I sure as hell don’t understand it when one of my fellow countrymen takes an assault rifle and handgun and viciously murders 50 people and wounds 53 others.

Gay means happy. How can you hate people whose description literally means happy? In high school drama we did a lot of plays that referred to times being ‘gay’ and even had a character whose name was ‘Gay’ and it often produced a lot of giggles, sometimes loudest from those of us who were only then accepting that they were ‘happy’ and didn’t want to hide it from the world anymore.

Love isn’t wrong. Love doesn’t always look the same. Love is a blessing and a gift and we have no right to say who is deserving of it, who isn’t, and who needs to change who they are because of who they love. If you are lucky enough to have had love in your life, you should know this. You should be happy for your fellow human beings that they find it too, no matter their gender and the gender of their loved one. Their love doesn’t hurt you. Their love and their lives aren’t about you.

You may think your religion—be it Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or any other—has given you the rules for what is right or wrong about love and that you are somehow compelled to enforce those rules on others. Maybe you should take another look at the principles on which this country was founded — including freedom of and from religion, and the separation of church and State. And maybe take another look at your religion because at their cores, most religions are supposed to be about love and respect. Love and respect for the force or forces that created this universe and love and respect for our fellow human beings.

I wish I had better words for the family and friends of those who were brutally taken in Orlando, for the LGBT community at large, and for my bright and gay friends. But those words don’t exist. I wish I could say this will be the last time you will be attacked for who you are and who you love but I can’t. What I will say is that you are in my heart and on my mind and that there are so many people out there who love you and support you and will do whatever we can to protect your rights and to make sure you get the chance to live your lives as you want. The sick hate of the gunman in Orlando is like a drop of water against the ocean of love that people all across the country and the world are sending out to you.

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Image Credit: Kevin Wong on Flickr

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