We ❤ Orlando

It’s been about 11 and a half days since the Orlando shooting. I know I have been posting here and there about the news updates and expressed my feelings regarding everything, or well, I have on a minuscule scale. This post may be a little long, so fair warning, but I have been wanting to get this out and now I finally can somewhat put my feelings into words and sentences. I normally never post ‘blog’ style posts and usually find them annoying on Facebook/Instagram. However, this is a matter I can’t let go unspoken or un-felt or unexpressed.

For me and many of my close friends, the Orlando Shooting was not just a hate crime or a massive shooting. This whole thing sent a message across the country and across the world. It impacted me on a level I never thought possible. I am by no means shedding less light upon previous tragedies, but this one hit home. See, these “gay bars and clubs” that most just think are unnecessary and childlike, these have been our safe haven for years and for most, they are a place to truly be yourself and be able to freely dance with the person you love.

The Orlando shooting instilled a fear in me that I have been carrying with me my whole life and especially since I came out almost 6 years ago. Being gay is scary on its own. I have to “come out” daily. I walk in public with my beautiful girlfriend and at times still fear that by simply holding her hand, I will be judged or even harmed for showing an innocent representation of love. No one looks twice at heterosexual couples walking side by side holding hands or even questions ‘why’ they are together. For me, I have to announce that I am gay in everyday life, every day conversation. I would be lying if I said that now, especially, I am not scared. I am terrified. And, although that won’t ever make me hide myself or the love I have for my girlfriend, this fear that is now in me, is heavy.

When I found out about the shooting, I immediately fell apart. I wept in my girlfriend’s arms. During the past few days, I have let myself read more about the lives that were taken. I started picturing myself and Katy and my friends, those I love, in that club. I saw us there, dancing our butts off as we always do. I saw us hugging each other goodnight before heading home for the night. My mind is at a loss. It makes zero sense. It never will. This should never happen. But it did. It’s real. I am angry, sad, confused…disappointed. Beautiful souls were taken.

I am in love and I will always show my affection for my girlfriend, regardless, because I have zero shame and have never been more confident in who I am. I just hope our world can come to some peace. Please, everyone, I don’t care what color skin you have, who you choose to love, where you have come from, what you choose to believe in, just please love yourself enough to be who you are and love wholeheartedly who you choose to be with in this life. Love is love is love is LOVE. ‪#‎loveislove‬ ‪#‎LGBTQ‬

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