Waking up to learn of another mass shooting in this country – now officially the deadliest in U.S. history, dampened my pleasure of seeing local teenagers enjoying themselves at last night’s GSA prom. My heart aches at another senseless act of violence.
At this time, we still do not know the shooters motivations, but it struck a nerve. For far too long, politicians and religious leaders have used the fear of ‘the other’ to stoke irrational hatred of the LGBT community, non-mainstream religions, alternative political philosophies and persons of color. Effectively dehumanizing populations where violence can be rationalized, if not outright encouraged. Throughout our history, this irrational hatred that has ruined many lives, not to mention fill church coffers, turned elections and made some a great deal of money (i.e. the weapons industry.)
The LGBT community has come so far, so fast, we have a lot to celebrate, but the events of earlier this morning build upon the backlash to the legalization of same-sex marriage, passage of antiquated laws highlight the need for our community to not be cowed or used by politicians and religious leaders to stoke fear. It needs to stop now.
Perhaps not since the early 80’s, when the AIDS crisis was devastating our community, our diverse community needs to stand in solidarity, stay strong, remain out and proud of who we are and continue to push for a safer, kinder and more inclusive society. Should I learn that today’s shooting forces anyone back into the closet would make me very sad and angry as that is the goal of terrorism and hatred of ‘the other’.
Now, for the first time in a long time, we need PROUD and honor those killed earlier this morning and as a tribute to those who came before us who risked everything to fight for our freedom to live openly.
I hope to see you in Town Point Park next Saturday.