Today, I had hoped to write about something lighthearted and fun, but in light of recent events, I find my soul heavy and sad. As much as I would like to spend my time working on an article about summertime and friends, I find myself preoccupied with news reports and Facebook post after Facebook post coming from people I know, care about, and love.
On Saturday night, 50 members of the LGBTQ community were murdered and 53 were injured in Pulse, a LGBTQ bar in Orlando, Florida. Having topped the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, this incident is now known to be the biggest and deadliest mass shooting in United States history.
I want to start by establishing that I do not wish to talk about terrorism, or gun control, or ISIS because, while this may be a terrorist attack on American soil, this is specifically a hate crime towards the LGBTQ community. It was no coincidence that Omar Mateen chose a gay club on a Saturday night and it feels important for me to reiterate that this impacts members of the LGBTQ community more than anyone else, and more than a lot of people seem to grasp.
I ache, but I do not ache for myself. I do not feel personally attacked because it is not about the American people overall, but about this marginalized group. I am sad for the numerous, invaluable people in my life who had their heart broken because they, after such an exhausting fight, can still find no comfort and security in the nation they call home. I understand the good intentions behind social media messages sending love and support to the victims and their families, but, as is discussed in "The Daily Beast," many of these posts by politicians have not once mentioned the LGBTQ community in particular, when it is such a significant detail to know.
After the Supreme Court ruling that permitted same-sex marriage, I felt optimistic about this country's ability to shift towards progress. How foolish I was to think that one simple court decision would free a community from years of hate that it has fought so hard to defeat. Not only did Mateen attack Pulse on Saturday, but on Sunday, another man was arrested and found with weaponry and explosives that he admitted were to be used at the Los Angeles Pride Festival.
There is nothing I can say that most of you haven't already read somewhere else or said yourself, but it felt wrong to try and write about anything else when this event and this issue are so deserving of support. All I can do is conclude with the notion that, first and foremost, the Orlando shooting was a hate crime. We have to stop treating it like it's an issue that simply encompasses all of American society when it's about the continuous marginalization and mistreatment of the LGBTQ community.
For those of you who have read to or skipped ahead to the bottom- if you yourself do not identify as LGBTQ, give your love and support to your queer friends and family members. They deserve to be reminded that some of us will continue to fight alongside them. If you are a member of this community, however, I am so sorry for your anguish. Your pain and exhaustion have been seen and heard, and you are not alone in this struggle for a world of equality.