Every Victim in Orlando Was Someone’s Child

Posted on Jun 13, 2016 | 2 comments

We just experienced the largest mass shooting of children in US history.
 
Every victim in #Orlando, every person who was dancing the night away in #Pulse, was someone’s child.
 
I am hurt. I am angry. I am scared.
 
I am hurt for the families and friends of each person — each human being — who was killed. I am hurt for their moms who will never have a chance to hug their child again and say “I love you.”
 
I’m overwhelmingly hurt for those who may have died feeling as if their moms didn’t love them. The sad truth is that many of the people who lost their lives may have also lost their families long before Sunday morning. Too many LGBTQ people are rejected, kicked out, and hear words like “You are dead to me” from their parents simply because of who they love or who they are. I am hurt for any of those children who felt alone as they lay there dying.
 
I am angry with the religious institutions who promote rejection of the LGBTQ community as part of their doctrine. Christian, Muslim, Catholic…there are more than enough examples to go around that we don’t have to limit the conversation to one kind of faith. I am angry at people who sing “Jesus loves the little children; all the children of the world,” but who practice anything but love when it comes to an LGBTQ person.
 
I am angry with the people who are saying “Enough with the rainbow crap. We don’t live in a divided country. We should be waving the American flag because Americans died.” Really? This country isn’t divided? This country treats everyone equally? With more than 200 legislative bills proposed just this year (and let me remind you that it’s only June) that target the LGBTQ community, you want to claim that all people have equal rights and are treated the same? Stop. Just stop. Your straight heteronormative privilege is showing.
 
And speaking of privilege and divisiveness, let’s note that Pulse was hosting Latin night. As we learn about the people who were killed, note how many are queer, trans, and people of color. Every life matters and let’s remember that there are segments of the LGBTQ community who are even more marginalized than most and who are most often the targets of violence. I’m angry at how often they are forgotten. I’m angry that we don’t do more to support them and lift them up.
 
And I am scared. I admit it. I am scared.
 
I am scared that this is just the beginning of a turbulent time when people fight back against the gains the LGBTQ community has made in seeing that precious equality they have long been fighting for.
 
I am scared at how many people are cheering on the death of almost 50 people who were out having a night of fun in a space where they were supposed to feel safe and free. I’m scared at the comments I’m reading like “at least it was gays and not innocent people” or “the shooter is my hero and the cops should be sued for killing a hero.” I’m scared at how many people are brazen enough to send me personal messages finding joy in the death of someone’s child.
 
And I’m scared for my own child. She asked to be public because she is proud of who she is. She waves her transgender flag with pride because she knows that her life has value and that she deserves to enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities as any other child around her. But that also leads to vulnerability. I would like to think “She’s safe…no one would ever target such a young child and try to harm her.” But we have so many examples of people doing exactly that, not only in the US, but globally. Sandy Hook. West Nickel Mines Amish School. An elementary school in Rio de Janeiro where 12 children were killed. The summer camp on the island of Utoya in Norway. Columbine where students killed fellow students. Knowing how recent bathroom bills focusing on schools have encouraged distrust and fear of trans youth, I’m scared.
 
I’m really scared that people offering prayers and sympathy will simply forget and move on. I’m scared that next week, they’ll jump on the next trending news item because this one didn’t touch them personally. I’m scared that in November, they will forget the politicians who have used anti-LGBTQ rhetoric as a campaign issue and will vote for them. I’m scared that they won’t stop to teach their children that every person should be loved, respected, and treated equally no matter how they may be different.
 
I’m a mother. And I’m hurt, angry, and scared for our children.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Mother, hurt, angry and scared too! I’ve been having a hard time getting my 23 year old to feel comfortable enough to leave the house. I was so disappointed that he didn’t feel up to go to the pride parade Sat and by Sun was glad he wasn’t leaving the house.

  2. Thank you for this; I am a scared, grieving parent also, for all of the reasons that you have mentioned. I want my child to live openly, without limits, and then this happens, and I am so frightened. Yet, I want him to shine his brilliant light. I can only hope that understanding begins soon.

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