To the LGBT victims, their families, and friends:
It is 11 AM as my mother walks into my room, and tells me to get up, and then says that over 50 LGBT people are dead from a shooting. A hate crime.
“Where?” I ask.
I remember Christina Grimmie dying there yesterday. And now 50, possibly more, people will become statistics with her. My mother shuts my door and I lay motionless. I eventually open twitter and scroll through my feed. 50 dead, hate crime, homophobia are commonalities in every post. Suddenly I realize the twisting lurch in my stomach is not a yearning for breakfast.
As I played video games with my best friend last night, over 100 people were targeted and shot because of being themselves in public. Because they were and are gay.
There is no excuse, there is no justification. This was America’s largest hate crime in history. And I had just been alive to witness it.
A year ago, we received news that same-sex marriage was the law of the land. No longer could people be held back from loving their partner (except for a few incidents, unfortunately) regardless of sexual orientation. Today we hear that the worst crime towards LGBT+ individuals has occurred in America. And here people thought that gay people were magically equal.
L.A. Pride is also going on today, and they have fearlessly decided to carry on, mourning our fellow Americans who cannot walk with them — they are marching to voice the freedom from persecution that is desired as a citizen of the United States of America. This is why Pride parades still exist and will ever onwards go: LGBT people must celebrate the fact that only in comradery can the persecution cease. And as long as the hateful ideologies are perpetuated, persecution will persist.
Their goal is silence. Their goal is hate. The result has been a love unrivaled. To the poor souls lost, we will ever remember you. You died being your authentic souls, and perhaps there is no greater achievement than this. Onward we will march, together as a nation, as a community, until persecution becomes a word that slips off our tongues like a newly learned foreign language.
Orlando, your rainbows will ever fly in every Pride flag. Your lives, your voices will echo in the songs we sing. Your heartbeats within every footstep in a march. Please know that your deaths will not be in vain. The good in the world may be harder to see, but it is there. I know it is there, for there is love abound today.