I haven’t really commented publicly on the Orlando shooting at Pulse, but believe me when I say it has been on my mind and very close to the surface since it happened. So I’m finally going to talk about it. Or at least, talk about why a mass shooting in a gay nightclub in another country,far away from me; a married woman in her forties with children and dogs and a husband, would matter so much.
I have five kids. If you read my blog, you already know this. If you have read my blog for a while now, you also probably know my oldest daughter is gay. Coming out wasn’t easy for her. Not because of my reaction, her dad’s, her siblings, but…other members of our family can’t understand it and don’t accept it. She got a lot of backlash at high school. We lived in a very small town and believe me, being out there wasn’t always easy but, one of the things I admire most about my daughter is that she is beautifully herself. Unapologetically. Being authentic is a gift. She has it. Anyone who knows her knows how utterly genuine she is.
My house is one where we talk about everything. So, when she came out to us, the kids just took it as easily as if she had told them that actually, despite the rainbow of colours that have found their way into her hair, she is actually a natural blonde. I mean, it’s still her. What was there not to accept?
Ah but there were things not to accept where others were concerned. Some of our family was not and is not so accepting. And that pains me.
We all know that there has been an extreme uphill battle for the gay community to climb. And I’m embracing ALL of the community. Gay, lesbian, queer, trans, bi, questioning and anyone else I’m leaving out. There is a lot of ignorance and intolerance out there and that breeds fear and hate. But I had thought, as most of us likely had, that we as a society have come leaps and bounds.
And then. The shooting.
It’s too much.
I was texting my gorgeous girl the morning it happened. She lives in another province and I couldn’t be there to hug her, hold her. She was looking forward to going to pride this year in Toronto. She is not going now. Because she was going to go alone and now, well, without someone there with her to help her feel safe, she doesn’t want to risk it.
Which is the saddest thing. She will be 21 next month. This is the time in her life when she should be going out to gay bars and clubs and meeting people and having fun.
As I watched the Tony awards last Sunday night, I cried when Lin Manuel gave his speech and said “love is love is love is love is love”. Because that hit the nail right on the head for me.
To everyone in the world who doesn’t get it. There is no wrong way to love. There is no wrong gender to love. No evil way, no sacrilidgeous way, no broken way no hateful way, no sinful way. Love. Is. Love.
Love is love.
Say it out loud. Love is love.
And every single person on this planet is entitled to love in whatever incarnation it makes them feel loved in return. How could anyone begrudge love?
I hope the families of this massacre find peace in their days to come. I hope the gay community finds new strength and continues to stand up and say WE ARE WORTHY. I hope my daughter finds joy and happiness and love with a wonderful partner some day.
And I hope the people whose hearts are still closed to a part of humankind find a way to open them. Have your grinch moment and let your hearts grow. Because, no one wants to threaten you, or put their relationship “in your face” anymore than you do. They simple want to dance, without dying.
They just want to love their lives and one another. As we all do.
Love is love. We learned to love as children.
So grow up.