Last week, wow.
Mass shooting, 49 dead.
It occurred in a gay disco, most were very young.
A nation mourns. I mourn.
There is an occasional news spot of hate. Not much though…not much hate.
There are mass outpouring a of love. Love, acceptance, mourning, support, care, donations, recognition, help, empathy, condolences, compassion, money, kindness….I’m verklempt.
(note to self, iPad spell check does not like verklempt. )
Community comes to mind. Orlando is a community. Gays are a community. Our nation, and world, is rallying around those two communities. Those two communities are one, one with the nation and one with the world.
Fifty years ago, in almost all communities, gay men & women were jailed for being in a bar where other gays congregated. Raids were common. Gays were abused by and victims of violence at the hands of law enforcement. Most gay bars were mafia associated in order to pay people off to keep them open and patrons were taken advantage of by the powers that controlled the bars. If caught in a gay bar one could lose one’s family, job, home, children….everything. One could end up on a list of sexual predators, or similar, for the crime of sodomy in the private bedroom of ones home.
Almost all people who were attracted to the same sex were closeted. Not closeted by choice but out of necessity. Survival.
As we celebrate pride in the midst of this horrible tragedy, let’s not forget to be thankful for where we are. It does not lessen the circumstance to recognize just how far we have come since a few drag queens said “No More” at the Stonewall Inn back in 1969. 1969…..I was a kid but this is in my lifetime and no matter what you say, I ain’t old yet.
A nation is flying pride flags. A nation is standing not only with Orlando but with its gay community. The hospitalized victims are being released into an accepting and supportive world, not jailed and humiliated for being in a gay bar. The dead are eulogized with dignity, love, support and compassion, not ignored and disposed of as criminals for being who they were where they were.
Not only is our nation but our world is standing with us. I’m verklempt with gratitude.
I’m disturbed by the loss, the violence and the death but I will not let that stop me from realizing where we are and how much things have changed.
May this be a rallying cry to all of us to keep marching forward as humanity. Humanity that loves, cares and supports each other. Love will conquer evil.
Believe, keep believing.