What Orlando Represents

What Orlando Represents

"Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that" - Martin Luther King Jr.

Omar Mateen, the man who carried out a hate crime that became the largest mass shooting in U.S. history at a gay bar in Orlando, FL on Sunday morning has been called many things. He has been labeled as a criminal, a terrorist, a murderer and very wrongfully as an example of why Muslims must be feared. However, as many have pointed out, this final claim is a gross generalization. In absolutely no way does Mateen represent the Muslim community.

His actions do not reflect upon the millions of people who are part of the Islamic faith. His crime does not bear the sentiment of people who happen to share the same religion. The shooting represents homophobia. For all of the things that Mateen is, his actions on Sunday night do not represent the many other demographics that he is a part of. He does not stand for the beliefs or actions of all American-born people, all men, all 29 year-olds or all fathers. What Mateen represents is a culture built on fear and hatred. What his actions represent are homophobia.

The tragedy in Orlando has made the struggles that the LGBTQ community shockingly, painfully and horrifically clear. It has shown in a heartless and destructive way the hatred that our queer friends and family face for choosing to love who they love, and freely be the people that they truly are. It is tragic that it took a disaster of this magnitude to open our nation's eyes to the inequality and fear that the LGBTQ community lives with. However, what is more tragic is that many people are responding to this cry for solidarity and love with prejudice and division.

By generalizing Mateen's actions, we are feeding the same vicious and ignorant cycle that led to the Orlando Massacre. Now is not the time for Islamaphobia. While it is certainly easier for our nation to hate and blame a religious group which we have been taught to view with contempt and fear, if we truly want to heal and bring about positive change we must do the more difficult and right thing.

We must look at our culture and the way we think. Homophobia and Islamaphobia are built on the same foundations- a hatred and fear towards those that deviate from what is considered normal. Rather than mislabel the tragedy in Orlando, making it into someone else's problem we must begin to fight for a culture that respects and appreciates those who are different.

We must create an environment that stops judging people based on where they are from, who they worship and for all that is reasonable and good, who they choose to love. We have to start seeing each other and loving one another - human to human, with no prerequisites.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Yes, I'm A Feminist, No I Don't Hate All Men

Because if we want to promote equality, why fight that with mass hating a particular gender?


I'd like to consider myself a feminist.

I am all for equal opportunity, equal pay, and equal rights. I believe that women should be granted the equal opportunities that males do, be free of harassment, not be scared to exist literally just because of their gender, have reproductive rights, be taken seriously when we think something is medically wrong with us, and be treated with the same respect and dignity as men do. Just because I believe all these things, however, doesn't mean I automatically hate men.

I've seen a big increase in trends that, just for men existing, people will post about how "men ain't shit," or how men ultimately suck just because of their gender. When reflecting upon this, however, I've come to realize isn't this a step in the wrong direction?

Obviously, I can't continue on until I say this: there is, in fact, times where men can really suck. White men in positions of power abusing that, men who are rapists, men who meddle in women's reproductive rights, abusers, men who think it's okay and even funny to harass others, etc. But it all comes down to this: just because you're a man doesn't mean I automatically hate you, and I don't think others should.

Sure, as mentioned above, there are garbage humans who abuse their positions of power as men in order to get what they want. THOSE are the people I hate, not others for existing just because they are men. When in reality, there are a lot of good men who recognize their positions of power and try and make up for it by advocating for those in need of advocacy, whether they are women or even minorities. There are men who are decent human beings, whether that is being nice to others, volunteering in their community, caring for those around them, or even men who are also feminists.

I think my argument has been made pretty clear: I do not and will not hate you just because you are a man. No one gets to choose whichever gender they are, so why should I hate a group of people for just being born male? If I want to promote equality as a feminist, why should I then believe that I am better because I am female? Why should I say I believe in equal treatment between genders, yet automatically hate you because you're a man?

So yes, some men truly, "ain't shit." I believe these men, however, are not good human beings. Men aren't terrible just because they are men, and I ultimately wish that those promoting total equality would realize that we cannot strive towards equal treatment, opportunities, and pay if we continue clumping one group together under the impression of, "they're men, they're terrible."


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