Like millions of others I woke on Sunday morning and did what I do most mornings, picked up my phone to see what was happening in the world. On a Sunday morning my social media newsfeeds are usually full of hungover posts and by the time I’m awake across the pond there are usually some good Sunday lunch photos from back home to salivate over. However this Sunday was different. All of my social media newsfeeds were full of one thing, the Orlando nightclub shooting.
Immediately upon reading this news, I, like I’m sure 99% of the others who read it, felt instantly devastated, for the victims themselves and also for their poor families and friends now wrapped in grief. These individuals were innocents, they did nothing wrong. Their only crime was wanting a night of fun and dancing with their friends and yet they paid with their life for it. They were the victim of what was both a horrific terrorist attack and a hate crime. The fact that I live in a world where something like this can happen greatly saddens me. What saddens me even more is that there is still that 1% of the population who did not have the same reaction I did to this atrocity. To think that there was one awful creature living amongst us capable of such an act is horrific, but to think that there are thousands more who, even to some extent, condone his actions absolutely appalls me.
It is 2016, surely we cannot still live in a world where anyone can actually believe that people should be punished for their sexual orientation? Are we really not passed that yet? I’m a straight, married woman but I have been to many a gay nightclub over the years with gay friends. I will be surprised if amongst those there on Saturday night there wasn’t just that, a straight friend who was partying with their gay friends. And if that’s the case is their life worth any more or less than those they were with? Of course not! Because every single person who was a victim of this horrific tragedy was just that, a victim of a horrific tragedy.
I had no personal connection to any of the victims but I am so deeply saddened by it. I’m saddened that these poor people lost their lives in such a senseless way. I’m saddened that their families have had to go through this and also that, as if their pain was not great enough already, they have had to listen to the moronic ramblings of bigots using this atrocity as a means for them spouting homophobic nonsense. Over the last 24 hours I have read numerous posts and comments both on social media and through mainstream media outlets that have made my blood boil. I won’t however be detailing any of these as I don’t intend to give them any further publicity.
I’m not naïve enough to believe that everyone does, or ever will, share my thinking around sexuality, that it basically should be irrelevant. That as long as the person you fall in love with is a good person and you treat each other well then who cares whether they’re male or female? I believe that their should be no such thing as gay rights because I believe there shouldn’t need to be. We should live in a society where everyone has the same rights and sexuality doesn’t even come into it; where there is no such thing as gay marriage; where there is just marriage, and it doesn’t matter the sexuality of the people getting married, because again as long as they love each other who cares?!
A simplistic and idealistic view? Yes perhaps, but why shouldn’t we aim for this? As we bring the next generation of children into the world we need to let them know that this is what we expect from them, that this should be the norm. That events like what happened in that nightclub in Orlando on Sunday morning are never, absolutely never, okay. Because at the end of the day life is hard enough as it is, do we really need to make it any harder for people? I do however understand that people are entitled to their own views and that many people do not share mine. If that is the case though, I beg of you have the common decency to keep your homophobic views to yourself, don’t make the lives of these grieving family members any harder by forcing them to defend their loved ones.
So in the aftermath of what has been the worst mass shooting in American history you have to hope that the world will come together and join in support for the LGBT community, for the community of Orlando and most importantly of all for the families and friends of the victims and also for the survivors. You have to hope that finally America will do something about it’s gun control. You have to hope that the tragic deaths of these innocent people will bring about even the tiniest bit of good from it. I have to hope all of this because I personally need to believe that as a human race we are intrinsically good people. Because as much as this world in which we live never fails to disappoint me at times, it also never fails to amaze me with how truly wonderful it can be as well and it’s often at times of tragedy that we see this. The 7 hour long queues in Orlando yesterday to donate blood are a prime example of the goodness we must not forget is still out there.
Life is so short and as this tragedy has shown you never know what tomorrow may bring so love those around you, be tolerant of others and let’s try to create a positive world to bring the next generation into. And if you believe in any kind of higher power then say a prayer for the poor souls that went out dancing and never made it home and for their poor families who now have to get used to life without them and let them grieve in peace. #prayfororlando #morelovelesshate