What a tragedy. What a shock. What do we do now?
After hearing about the mass shooting in Orlando on June 11th, a great sadness fell upon our global LGBTQ community. The following evening, I went to the Toronto Candlelight Vigil where I became bonded with the grieving crowd. I have never felt more a part of this beautiful community. There's a way that we tend to separate ourselves with label after label of microcosms and subcultures. However, this rattling event had a way of reminding us that we are all here together. We're a community who lives in perpetual fear. The fear of coming out. The fear of losing our friends, our families, our jobs. The fear of being harassed, discriminated against, treated as lesser than. In the wake of this tragedy, we find ourselves here again. Trying to cope with this heavy sense of fear lurking on our shoulders. It's an outrage.
We are unwilling to cower, or to hide away! We will fight for the equality we deserve. Our history of upheaving ourselves from oppression grants us the insight to know that overcoming hate requires love as the combative force. It will surrender to our acceptance and our open arms.
The day following the vigil I got a message from my friend Tate telling me to meet him in Yonge-Dundas Square at 7pm. By the time I had arrived, a small group of passionate LGBTQ folks had gathered together for the cause. We unravelled the sign, letting the public know we were here for Orlando. We gave hugs to all who'd open their hearts to us. Although it was a small act in light of such a disastrous event, it felt comforting to know we'd played a part in supporting the community around us.