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There are some days you’d just rather not look at the phone, turn on a TV, scroll through any timeline or newsfeed, listen to the radio, or be connected in any way, shape, or form to the outside world. Bad news has a way of clouding bright and hopeful visions of society and humanity. The moment we begin to feel like there are steps being taken in the right direction, we’re quickly reminded of the relentlessness of those who hate.
There’s no wrapping your head around what is now labeled the deadliest mass shooting in US history and deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11. These are the things I honestly wish I did not have to write about. But there’s a lot to be said about the homophobia that still exists and remains to be an engine behind horrific attacks like what happened at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL.
At least 50 people were killed and more than 50 others were wounded…
People generally don’t like to hear that we have a responsibility to one another, but I feel like that is only when it comes to showing others the right way. Homophobia is taught faithfully in our churches, in our homes, it is passed on so easily in our schools and even on the streets. To take the opportunity to teach others about acceptance seems like pulling teeth, and that may be because it conflicts with the morals of so many people. It’s easier to teach our sons and daughters that identifying or associating themselves with the LGBTQ community will lead to shame and ruin than it is to show them how gratifying and liberating it is to accept oneself and others. Where we go wrong is assuming that only LGBTQ people have a hard life, and that we’d rather not have that for the next generation. That’s only further perpetuating a cycle that we’re trying to avoid. No one wants a hard life, especially for their kids, but it shouldn’t have to cost things like dignity, integrity, or sometimes even lives, to pursue that. What we need to really understand to its fullest extent is realistically, there will be people out there who will dislike you regardless of how you identify. This shouldn’t stop any of us from pursuing our own happiness; we shouldn’t be stifled with fear because of paranoia.
On the other hand, we have moments like the attack on Pulse, where what was supposed to be a night of people enjoying themselves during LGBTQ Pride Month ended up being a killing spree for a terrorist (now identified as Omar Mateen). This only proves that we aren’t safe, even in the places where we’re limited to exist freely, without disrupting the societal norm. Mateen’s father said that Omar had recently gotten angry after seeing two men kissing, which may have inspired the attack. While I don’t want to minimize everything it took to bring this man to kill 50 people and wound 50+ others, I will say that there is nothing surprising about this. Homophobes tend to become so wrapped up in hurt when they see gay men specifically living their lives, simply existing, loving freely and openly. I’ve been exposed to it myself and will testify. They try to take matters into their own hands–which has lead to so many searchable hate crimes and killings that have been reported in the media. It’s sickening.
A word of advice and in relation to the very first sentence of this post: when tragedy strikes and you’re trying to avoid being angry because of it, stay away from social media. I did the wrong thing by searching hashtags and reading comments, even after expecting exactly what I read. Comments like “AIDS all over the dance floor” and other disgusting tweets were sent out in the wake of the massacre. It goes without saying that this shit is no laughing matter, but it takes a strong case of stupid to make a dark time a laughing matter. Ignorance is the breeding grounds for a hoard of other undesirable characteristics like bitterness, poor timing, and terrible sense of humor, just to name a few. Retweets and likes mean more to us than human lives. Validation from those we’ve never met holds more weight than the slain souls who could’ve easily been us. A wake up call for social media comedians is needed, and some of them get the reality slap they deserve. What drives people to make light of a massacre is beyond me, but what I do know is that there is power in just a little bit of research…
There are countless others who felt the need to chime in on the foolery, but we won’t shed anymore spotlights on assholes. They’re meant to stay in the dark. Moving on, it was reported earlier that the gunman was a regular at Pulse in Orlando and even had a profile on a gay dating app.
… Read more at FonzFranc.com